Are healthcare workers eligible for Covid booster jabs in Switzerland?

A nurse checks a chart
Healthcare workers will not get priority access to booster shots. Photo: MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP
Switzerland will roll out its Covid booster program from November 15th onwards. Will healthcare workers be among the first in line?

During the first wave of the pandemic, nurses and other frontline health workers were among the first to be vaccinated under Switzerland’s priority system. 

On October 26th, Switzerland announced that booster shots – i.e. a third dose of the vaccine – would be rolled out from November 15th onwards. 

However, when the priority groups for the vaccine boosters were announced, health workers were not included. 

As it stands, Swissmedic believes fully vaccinated healthcare workers are not at particular risk of contracting the virus, unless of course they can be said to be in one of the other high-risk categories. 

This is likely to cause some consternation among healthcare workers. 

Covid booster vaccinations in Switzerland: What you need to know

What is ‘high risk’?

There are three broad categories of high risk. 

The first, and most publicised, is those over the age of 65. This applies to everyone over the age of 65, regardless of underlying conditions. 

The second is people who have overcome previous illnesses which have a connection with the lungs, or others such as diabetes and cancer. 

The third is people with immunosuppressed conditions, who do not have enough protection from being fully vaccinated. People in this category have already been vaccinated in Switzerland for some time, with Swissmedic confirming that 7,700 have been administered in Switzerland as at October 26th. 

Is this likely to change? 

As at end October, Swiss authorities were developing a recommendation for healthcare workers, reports Swiss news outlet Watson, so this recommendation may change in future. 

The government however has so far said fully vaccinated health workers are not at a greater risk, so there is a chance this will remain the same. 

How do health workers feel? 

A spokesperson for health workers in Switzerland said healthcare workers should be near the front of the queue due to the greater risk associated with their work. 

Switzerland: Healthcare workers want priority for Covid booster shots

“Because health workers were vaccinated early in the year, they are among those whose immunity to coronavirus decreases first”, according to Roswitha Koch, head of the Swiss Association of Nurses.

As they are in regular contact with Covid patients and therefore at increased risk of infection, the association expects medical workers to have priority access to boosters, as soon as these shots become available.

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