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Reader question: How long is Switzerland’s Covid certificate valid for?

People have their Covid credentials checked
Switzerland's Covid certificate for recovery or for vaccination is valid for a year. Photo: JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER / AFP
With several countries - including some of Switzerland’s neighbours - shortening the validity of their Covid certificates, readers asked us how long the Swiss version is valid for and whether it will be shortened.

Switzerland’s Covid certificate is required to visit bars, restaurants and take part in events and other activities. 

The certificate shows you have either been vaccinated or tested negative from the virus, or have had the virus recently and recovered. 

The period of validity for tests, vaccination and recovery has changed over time. Here’s what you need to know. 

How long is Switzerland’s Covid certificate valid for? 

The validity of the Covid certificate depends on the way in which you got it, i.e. whether you are vaccinated, recovered or have tested negative. 

The validity for being fully vaccinated lasts for a full year from the time you got your second shot. Where you have a booster shot, the 365-day period will start from the third dose.

Covid booster vaccinations in Switzerland: Everything you need to know

The only difference is if you have been vaccinated with the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine, where validity starts on the 22nd day after you receive your jab (and lasts for a year from the date of the jab). 

Switzerland recently changed the period of validity for recovery from the virus from six months to 12 months. 

A Covid certificate through recovery is valid for one year from the date of your positive PCR test. 

You can also get a Covid certificate for recovery through an antibody test. 

Where your antibody test shows that you have enough antibodies to be at a lower risk from the virus, your Covid certificate will be valid for 90 days from the time of the test. 

More information is available at the following link. 

READ MORE: How to get Switzerland’s Covid certificate with an antibody test

The third way of getting a Covid certificate is through a negative test. 

For people who test negative to the virus, you will be given a certificate. 

Both PCR and antigen tests apply here, although the validity differs. 

A negative PCR test is valid for 72 hours, while a negative antigen test is valid for 48 hours

Self tests are not valid for the certificate.  

Click here for official government information on Covid certificate validity.

Why are governments and health authorities changing the period the certificate is valid? 

The fast-moving nature of the pandemic has meant decisions have been made in real time on the basis of the best scientific evidence available at the time. 

When new evidence comes to light, it has occasionally meant a change in policy. 

One clear example of this was during the early stages of the pandemic when the focus switched from cleaning surfaces where Covid might collect to masks, which attempted to curb airborne transmission of the virus. 

In recent days, Austria and France – as well as some countries further afield including Croatia and Israel – have shortened the validity of their Covid certificate equivalents on the basis of new evidence which suggests immunity may not last as long. 

READ MORE: How long are people in Switzerland considered ‘fully vaccinated’ compared to other countries?

One example from Switzerland was illustrated above in relation to the Covid certificate for recovery. Originally, the validity for this was six months, but this was extended to 12 months on the basis of new evidence. 

How long will Switzerland keep the Covid certificate in place?

When announcing the extension of the certificate at a press conference on September 8th, Health Minister Alain Berset said the obligation would be in place until at least January 24th, 2022. 

He did however say it could be lifted before January if the epidemiological situation allows it. As at end November 2021, this looks unlikely. 

More information on the criteria for bringing the Covid certificate to an end is available at the following link. 

EXPLAINED: How long will Switzerland keep the Covid certificate in place?


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