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COVID-19 CERTIFICATE

Switzerland approves antibody testing for Covid certificate

Switzerland on Wednesday made several changes to the Covid certificate framework, particularly for those who have had the virus previously and recovered.

Swiss Interior and Health Minister Alain Berset sitting next to a Swiss flag
Swiss Interior and Health Minister Alain Berset gestures during a press conference. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

On Wednesday November 3rd, the Swiss government announced a raft of new changes to the Covid certificate would come into effect. 

The government said the validity of recovery from the virus would be extended to 12 months from the existing six months from the date of their PCR test-confirmed result.

Validity from being fully vaccinated is currently set at 12 months, but an extension to 18 months is being considered

Swiss authorities said more studies were being done on the duration of immunity from both Covid infection and from vaccination, but indicated that a longer period of validity for those who have recovered from the virus was warranted. 

In addition, anyone who believes that they have previously contracted the virus but who were not tested at the time can take an antibody test to check for immunity. 

If sufficient antibodies are found, they will get 90 days of validity in the Swiss Covid certificate. 

The antibody tests must meet WHO standards and must be paid for by the person seeking to get tested. 

Antibody tests cost around 70CHF in Switzerland. 

As expected, the Swiss government also announced that Covid booster shots would be offered for free. 

Switzerland approved booster shots for those over 65 along with people in risk groups in late October, with shots to be administered from November 15th onwards. 

Covid booster vaccinations in Switzerland: What you need to know

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COVID-19 CERTIFICATE

What will Switzerland do about the ‘millions’ of expiring Covid certificates?

In the coming months, millions of Covid certificates are set to expire in Switzerland. What will the government do about it?

What will Switzerland do about the ‘millions’ of expiring Covid certificates?

As certificates are valid for nine months after the second vaccine dose or a booster, “millions of Swiss Covid certificates will expire by autumn at the latest”, according to Swiss news outlet 20 Minutes.

As many Swiss received their most recent shot in late 2021, the nine-month period will soon be coming to an end. 

Although this is not a problem domestically as proof of vaccination is no longer required in Switzerland, it may pose issues for travel. 

Since many countries still require a vaccination certificate for entry, and as the second round of boosters is not yet available in Switzerland,  this means that a large number of people may not be able to travel abroad.

And while other countries have already started to administer second booster shots, Swiss health authorities are dragging their feet, not having even issued a recommendation for the fourth dose yet.

This worries some MPs, who are calling on the government to make second boosters available soonest possible.

“The past has shown that cantons are not always sufficiently prepared. Something like this mustn’t happen again”, said MP Fabian Molina, adding that anyone travelling abroad should be able to be re-vaccinated if they wish. 

Another deputy, Yvonne Feri, noted that the federal government and the cantons have to prepare to vaccinate again within a short period of time.

READ MORE: Reader question: When will Switzerland roll out second Covid boosters?

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