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COVID-19 CERTIFICATE

In which of Switzerland’s neighbours does the Covid certificate have shorter validity?

Planning a holiday or a trip to see family? Some of Switzerland’s neighbours and popular holiday destinations have shorter validity periods for the fully vaccinated. Here’s what you need to know.

A Covid app up close
Some of Switzerland's neighbours - as well as popular holiday destinations - have a shorter period of validity for the Covid certificate. Here's what you need to know. Image: Pixabay.

In Switzerland, the Covid certificate is valid for one year after your second vaccination, i.e. the point at which you become fully vaccinated. The certificate is also valid for a year if you have previously contracted the virus (a year from the time of your positive test). 

While Swiss authorities have even debated extending the validity of the Covid certificate to 18 months, concerns about the strength of immunity gained from the vaccines has led some countries to shorten the period. 

Some countries have also changed the definition of fully vaccinated to only include those who have had booster jabs. 

This includes some of Switzerland’s neighbours and popular holiday destinations, many of which have rules in place which restrict certain activities to those who have been vaccinated. 

France

France will shorten its immunity period to seven months from January 15th. 

This means that you are considered fully vaccinated for a seven-month period after either your second shot, or your booster shots 

READ MORE: Will travel to and from France be open this Christmas?

You are considered fully vaccinated in France seven days after your second shot (or four weeks after receiving the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine), or immediately after your booster shot. 

Austria

While Austria is currently in a nationwide lockdown until December 12th, the Covid immunity rules have recently been shortened. 

READ MORE: Is it possible to travel to Austria during the new Covid lockdown?

From December 6th, immunity will be considered to last nine months from your second shot, being reduced from the current 12-month period of validity. 

Croatia

Croatia’s immunity period is deemed to last 210 days, i.e. seven months, from your second shot. 

Israel 

Israel was one of the first countries to roll out a nationwide vaccination campaign and has since started administering Covid booster shots for the entire population. 

At just six months, Israel’s validity period is the shortest featured in this report. This means that you will only be considered fully vaccinated for six months after your second shot, or your booster shot. 

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COVID-19 RULES

Reader question: Which Swiss cantons will keep the Covid certificate in place?

Several Swiss cantons have expressed a desire to keep the Covid certificate in place. What does that mean for the relaxation of Covid measures?

Reader question: Which Swiss cantons will keep the Covid certificate in place?

On Wednesday February 16th, Switzerland announced an imminent relaxation of almost all Covid measures. 

The decision was made after a two-week consultation with Switzerland’s cantons to decide the way forward out of the pandemic. 

The government announced that almost all Covid measures are being relaxed from Thursday, February 17th.

Covid certificates – which show someone has been vaccinated, recovered or in some cases has tested negative – will no longer be required in restaurants, cinemas or at events.

Masks will no longer be required in shops, supermarkets and the workplace, while they will continue to be required in public transport for the meantime. 

More information about the relaxed measures can be found at the following link. 

UPDATE: Switzerland to scrap Covid certificate and most mask rules

What does this mean at a cantonal level? 

While the federal government no longer requires Covid certificates, they can however be required by the cantons, under the new framework.

Swiss media has previously reported that several cantons want to keep the certificate in place.

READ MORE: Swiss cantons divided on ending Covid measures

During the consultation period, several cantons expressed reservations about completely removing the certificate requirement. 

The small, centralised and predominantly German-speaking cantons of central Switzerland — Zug, Schwyz, Uri, Nidwalden, Obwalden and Glarus —  were in the greatest hurry to return to pre-Covid rules.

These cantons argued that a gradual lifting would be too complicated and difficult for the population to understand.

The southwestern canton of Valais preferred this approach as well, but only “as long as the number of cases and hospitalisations continue to decrease by mid-February”. Otherwise, the lifting of the measures should be done in stages.

However, Geneva, Basel-City, Neuchâtel and Jura said it was too early to lift remaining measures.

“It is too risky at the moment, given the still high load in hospitals”, according to Basel-City, which added that “the effects of the first relaxations, such as teleworking and quarantines, are also not yet known”.

Will some cantons still require a Covid certificate?

Berset clarified on Wednesday that while some cantons had argued for this as part of the consultation process (i.e. on a federal level), they would most likely not unilaterally keep the certificate rule in place from February 17th onwards. 

Berset however said he would need to clarify the matter with cantonal representatives and did not rule out some cantons deciding to keep the certificate in place in some instances – for example in relation to nightclubs or large events.

As at Wednesday afternoon, no cantons have indicated they will keep the certificate requirement in place. 

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