Why Switzerland pays more for Covid vaccines than its neighbours

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Why Switzerland pays more for Covid vaccines than its neighbours
A vial of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine. Photo: STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP.

Everything is more expensive in Switzerland, including stuff that Swiss residents get for free.


Whether you live in Switzerland or you have just visited once, you may be familiar with the mark up on all manner of goods and services when you cross the Swiss border. 

New information has revealed that the cost increases even apply to Covid vaccines. 

EXPLAINED: Why is Switzerland so expensive?

Although the contracts that Swiss government has signed with manufacturers of coronavirus vaccines are confidential, a new document reveals that Switzerland pays around 28 francs per dose - which is a lot more than its neighbours. 

As a comparison, the EU price for one dose of a Pfizer vaccine ranges from 15.50 to 19.50 euros, and for Moderna from 19  to 21.50 euros.

(The euro and franc are at near 1:1 parity as at mid-April 2022).

However, this price disparity can’t be attributed solely to the fact that Switzerland is generally more expensive than most other countries.


Rather, the price of vaccines is based on quantities purchased – the larger the volume, the cheaper the price.

All in all, Switzerland bought smaller quantities of Covid vaccines than the EU, of which Switzerland is not a member. 

While the price the government paid for the doses is not passed on to the population, as vaccinations are free of charge, the overall costs of the pandemic are among the reasons for higher health insurance premiums expected in 2023.

Some of the costs have already been incurred, with “around a third of the total costs for these vaccine doses already paid in 2021 in the form of reservation payments” the report reads. 

READ MORE: Why Swiss healthcare costs are rising and how you can save


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