Fourth shot: Switzerland plans additional Covid booster in autumn 2022

Swiss authorities are planning another booster campaign which will kick in at the end of summer.

Several vials of Covid vaccine with purple lids
When is Switzerland set for a second booster? Photo: ARIANA DREHSLER / AFP

Concerned about the waning protection of booster jabs after six months, the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health has laid out a plan for people to receive a second booster shot – or a fourth jab in total – in the autumn of 2022. 

The FOPH said it did not want to presume the existing vaccination protection would last after the summer. 

However, unlike the current booster campaign, the shots may be recommended not for the entire population but those in particular risk groups. 

The Federal Vaccination Commission said those above the age of 65 and who have pre-existing conditions or other illnesses may be recommended a fourth jab. 

The FOPH did however not rule out another shot for the entire population, although they consider this to be the “worst case” scenario. 

Covid-19 infections: Has Switzerland reached the peak yet?

At this stage, no decision has been made, with the FOPH currently investigating the level of vaccination protection by the booster shot alongside the impact of the less virulent omicron variant. 

The priority however was ensuring that the cantons are ready to administer another round of vaccinations if they are deemed appropriate. 

While the vaccination campaign is coordinated at a federal level, the responsibility of carrying out the campaign is handled domestically. 

“Currently it can be assumed that the main peak of the booster vaccinations to be administered in the autumn/before the winter season will again be concentrated in a relatively short period of around 2 months,” the government said. 

Fourth shots have already been administered in Israel, while people in certain risk categories have received a so-called ‘second booster’ in Germany. 

Switzerland on Wednesday announced a further relaxation of Covid measures would be contingent on the continuation of the vaccination campaign, along with a decline in infection numbers. 

READ MORE: What are Switzerland’s plans to relax Covid measures – and will they happen?

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Covid boosters not available in Switzerland until autumn

The Swiss government will not make second Covid boosters available until autumn, saying those who are currently fully vaccinated face a low risk of contracting the virus.

Covid boosters not available in Switzerland until autumn

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) announced on Tuesday that second Covid booster shots for general population will be available in the fall, “when the risk for individuals and the burden on the healthcare system will be greatest”.

While Switzerland had a widespread booster shot campaign against Covid, the government has been reluctant to approve second boosters other than for those in vulnerable categories. 

Right now, those with a weakened immune system and people over the age of 80 are the only ones eligible. 

People not in those risk groups who want a second booster will need to pay out of pocket for the jab. 

This may be people who feel they are in a risk group but are not included in the government’s list, or those who need a booster for travelling abroad. 

People who are travelling to countries where proof of up-to-date immunisation is required but whose Covid certificates are no longer valid, can receive the fourth dose but upon request have to pay for the shot.

Previously, all Covid boosters have been free for Swiss citizens and residents, with the government electing to cover the costs. 

How much will a Covid booster for travel cost? 

While the federal government previously covered the costs of the vaccines, it is now up to individual vaccination centres to set a price for a second booster. 

A spokesperson from the FOPH told The Local on Wednesday that the cost tends to be around CHF60 across much of the country. 

Please keep in mind that this cost only relates to second booster shots for those not in vulnerable categories. For those wanting their first booster – or indeed their first or second shot of the vaccine – the government will continue to cover the costs.