UPDATE: When will Switzerland roll out second Covid boosters?

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 24 May, 2022 Updated Tue 24 May 2022 09:39 CEST
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When is Switzerland set for a second booster? Photo: ARIANA DREHSLER / AFP

Second boosters are only recommended for people in high-risk categories in Switzerland. When will this change?

Unlike other countries such as Israel, Germany and the United States, Switzerland has still not recommended a fourth booster jab. 

Vaccination rates are currently low in Switzerland, with only around 1,000 jabs taking place per week. 

Around 70 percent of the population is currently vaccinated against Covid. 

On May 23rd, the government issued new guidelines regarding second booster doses.

These shots are recommended for people “with a very weakened immune system”, FOPH said on Monday, May 23rd.

“There is no need for the general public to receive an additional booster vaccination in the current situation. According to available data, people who are fully vaccinated or vaccinated and cured are still well protected against severe forms of COVID-19”.

What about boosters for travel?

Although boosters a no longer needed in Switzerland, they may be required for trips abroad to some countries. 

For those who need boosters for trips abroad, the government is “evaluating the possibilities” to administer the shots.

This is all the more important as some countries still require proof of vaccination to enter and millions of Swiss certificates will expire by autumn at the latest.

Expanded guidelines for fourth doses for the fall will be issued within the next few weeks, FOPH said, adding that Switzerland has a sufficient number of vaccine doses.

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

Why a booster recommendation remains ‘out of the question’

Christoph Berger, who heads up Switzerland’s Federal Vaccination Commission, reinforced that Switzerland’s main metric was hospitalisations, which were only increasing slightly. 

“A nationwide recommendation for another vaccination is therefore currently out of the question” Berger said in March 2022. 

EXPLAINED: What are Switzerland’s current Covid measures?

Berger also predicted “the extremely high number of infections… should not increase any further”. 

Berger said approximately 90 percent of the adult population has some form of immunity to the virus, whether from vaccination, a previous infection or a combination of both. 

Berger however noted that another jab may be necessary at the end of summer. 

"In addition, it is still uncertain whether at the end of summer a booster vaccination will be needed for certain people or for everyone."

The FOPH said in February 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.

Being fully vaccinated significantly reduces the chance of spreading the virus, but does not eliminate it completely. 

Studies show that unvaccinated people are three times more contagious than those who are boosted or who have recently contracted and recovered from the virus. 

Higher spread can also be problematic due to the increased threat of mutation. 

The period of time in which vaccinated people are contagious is also shorter. 

READ MORE: Unvaccinated ‘three times more contagious’ than vaccinated in Switzerland

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The Local 2022/05/24 09:39

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