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18 months: Will Switzerland extend the validity of the Covid certificate?

Now valid for a year, Covid certificates in Switzerland could be extended for six more months.
Swiss Covid certificates could be extended from 12 to 18 months. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP
Swiss Health Ministry proposed to prolong the certificate’s validity by six more months to 18 months in total, but there are certain conditions.

Currently, the certificates are valid for 12 months from the date of the second injection.

But Health Minister Alain Berset said on Monday it could be extended to 18 months.

The extension is necessary, he said, because first vaccines were administered in Switzerland at the end of December 2020, so those certificates will soon expire.

However, while the extended certificates would be valid for use in Switzerland, “it is not yet clear whether other countries would accept such an extension”, Berset noted.

Each nation decides autonomously what the period of validity of its certificates should be, but Berset said that if Switzerland has proof of vaccines’ protection beyond 12 months, the Federal Council will negotiate to have longer validity recognised internationally.

At present, only Israel requires a third dose of Covid vaccine to enter the country if the second injection or recovery is more than six months old.

Switzerland’s position is that the two vaccines administered in the country — Pfizer and Moderna — protect against coronavirus for more than a year.

“We don’t see any reduction in protection at this time”, said Virginie Masserey, head of infection control section at the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

This is the case for general population. Those with weakened immune systems, as well as people over 65 years of age, will however be offered booster shots from mid-November. Their certificates will then be extended for another 12 months from the date of the third dose.

READ MORE: Covid booster vaccinations in Switzerland: What you need to know

The government is also considering whether to extend the period of validity for certificates issued so far to people who recovered from Covid (who were tested with a PCR test) from six months to a year.

“However, as recovery certificates are valid for only 180 days in the EU, this extended certificate would only be for use in Switzerland”, FOPH said.

Authorities are also looking into the possibility of issuing certificates, valid for 90 days, to anyone who can present a current positive antibody or serology test.

READ MORE: Will Switzerland introduce antibody testing for Covid certificate?

The decision will be made in the middle of November.


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