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Covid in Switzerland: How common are hospitalisations and deaths among the boosted?

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The Local - [email protected]
Covid in Switzerland: How common are hospitalisations and deaths among the boosted?
Booster jabs look set to be approved in Switzerland on Wednesday. Photo: VALENTIN FLAURAUD / AFP

Despite some teething problems, Switzerland’s Covid booster campaign is in full swing. New data shows the effectiveness of booster shots in preventing infection and death.

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Switzerland’s booster campaign began in November, but has only recently hit full swing.

Just over a third (34.89 percent) of the Swiss population are vaccinated. While some have complained about difficulties in accessing booster jabs, in most cantons those who want a third shot have received one.

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In addition to the protection of the vaccine, experts also believe the Omicron variant leads to less severe courses of the virus.

How well do booster shots work in Switzerland?

The booster shot programme was rolled out in Switzerland and elsewhere due to evidence that protection tends to wane several months after a person receives their second shot.

Experts believe the booster is effective in preventing the spread of the virus, including new variants such as Omicron, but also in reducing many of the serious and potentially life-threatening symptoms of the disease.

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Figures released by the Federal Office of Public Health and published in the NZZ newspaper, Switzerland’s government department charged with leading the pandemic response, on January 18th show the effectiveness of the boosters, particularly among vulnerable groups.

Since the start of 2022, hospitalisations among those aged over 60 due to Covid are 20 times higher among the unvaccinated than those who have been boosted.

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Hospitalisations are three times higher among the fully vaccinated, in comparison to those who have received a booster jab.

Per 100,000 residents, 92.5 unvaccinated people (aged over 60) have been hospitalised with Covid in Switzerland.

This compares to 16.1 of fully vaccinated (per 100,000) and 5.3 of the boosted (per 100,000).

The difference in death rates is similarly stark, with death rates 25 times higher for the unvaccinated when compared to the boosted.

While 24.8 (per 100,000 people aged over 60) have died, just 0.9 of those with a booster have died. The fatality rate for fully vaccinated but not boosted is 3.6, which is still more than six times lower than the rate for unvaccinated people.

The study only looked at people aged over 60, as people in this age bracket have had easier access to boosters and they are considered to be more vulnerable to serious courses of infection.

The study took into account statistics from both Switzerland and Liechtenstein, which are considered together in FOPH data.

The period of the study is the three weeks until January 18th, 2022.

The official page of the Federal Office of Public Health, which includes statistics on vaccination, infection, death and hospitalisation, is available here.

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