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50 francs: What is Switzerland’s new ‘vaccination bonus’?

In a bid to boost the country's lagging vaccination rate, Switzerland wants to offer a 50 franc bonus. Here's how it will work.

Swiss Interior and Health Minister Alain Berset gestures during a press conference announcing new measures against the coronavirus on October 18, 2020 in Bern. - The Swiss government said on October 18 it was making the wearing of masks in indoor public spaces compulsory under new measures introduced after a
50 francs: Alain Berset announced the monetary incentive for convoincing people to get vaccinated. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

Please note: This idea has been rejected after consultation with the cantons. More information is available here. 

In a press conference on Friday, Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset said the government is set to offer a 50 franc voucher to anyone who persuades a vaccine holdout to get inoculated.

“This work of persuasion will be rewarded with a voucher worth 50 francs”, Berset said.

Though the exact nature of these vouchers has not yet been defined, “we can imagine they could be used in local businesses. But it will be up to cantons to set the details”, he noted.

The government will spend 150 million francs on this incentive, but according to Berset the investment is worthwhile, especially considering that 50 million francs is currently spent each week on Covid testing.

Berset said the idea would be put out for consultation with the cantons. 

This measure is taken to encourage more people to get the shot, as Switzerland “has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Europe, according to Berset.

READ MORE: Covid-19 vaccines: Why is Switzerland lagging behind other EU countries?

The Health Minister also outlined the Federal Council’s strategy to boost the rate of vaccinations.

It includes a national “immunisation week” at the yet undetermined date and the use of mobile units  — 170 new buses will be put into service in addition to the 50 already in circulation —to make access to vaccination easier.

READ MORE: Swiss 50 franc note named ‘banknote of the year’

These units would go everywhere where people congregate, “to the valleys, the village squares, in front of the football stadiums, in shopping centres”, Berset said.

As far as Covid certificate is concerned, the Federal Council will create a centralised electronic platform so that tourists, or anyone else vaccinated abroad, can apply for a Swiss Covid certificate.

It will be up to the cantons to issue them, he announced.

READ MORE: Canton-by-canton: How visitors can get Switzerland’s Covid certificate

Member comments

  1. So now the Swiss government has taken to bribing citizens with tax payer money to take the jab. How nice of them to waste even more or our tax money.

  2. The problem with the vaccine rate is the way that the government started the programme: publicly cautious, opt-IN instead of opt-OUT, the first line on the BAG website stressing how optional the vaccine was. If they’d been more openly positive about this from the beginning we wouldn’t be in this mess.

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Covid boosters not available in Switzerland until autumn

The Swiss government will not make second Covid boosters available until autumn, saying those who are currently fully vaccinated face a low risk of contracting the virus.

Covid boosters not available in Switzerland until autumn

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) announced on Tuesday that second Covid booster shots for general population will be available in the fall, “when the risk for individuals and the burden on the healthcare system will be greatest”.

While Switzerland had a widespread booster shot campaign against Covid, the government has been reluctant to approve second boosters other than for those in vulnerable categories. 

Right now, those with a weakened immune system and people over the age of 80 are the only ones eligible. 

People not in those risk groups who want a second booster will need to pay out of pocket for the jab. 

This may be people who feel they are in a risk group but are not included in the government’s list, or those who need a booster for travelling abroad. 

People who are travelling to countries where proof of up-to-date immunisation is required but whose Covid certificates are no longer valid, can receive the fourth dose but upon request have to pay for the shot.

Previously, all Covid boosters have been free for Swiss citizens and residents, with the government electing to cover the costs. 

How much will a Covid booster for travel cost? 

While the federal government previously covered the costs of the vaccines, it is now up to individual vaccination centres to set a price for a second booster. 

A spokesperson from the FOPH told The Local on Wednesday that the cost tends to be around CHF60 across much of the country. 

Please keep in mind that this cost only relates to second booster shots for those not in vulnerable categories. For those wanting their first booster – or indeed their first or second shot of the vaccine – the government will continue to cover the costs.