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HEALTH

Almost ten percent of Swiss residents now vaccinated

The latest available figures show that almost ten percent of Swiss residents have now been vaccinated against coronavirus.

Almost ten percent of Swiss residents now vaccinated
Photo: AFP

The figures, published by Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health, show that 778,925 vaccinations have been administered across Switzerland – or 9.05 percent of the population. 

More than 100,000 people (102,098) have received both doses of the vaccine

The actual figure is expected to be slightly higher as the government only updates the vaccination information once per week. 

As with everything in Switzerland, strong cantonal differences remain – with some cantons’ vaccination rate approaching 15 percent. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Switzerland’s smallest cantons have hit the ground running when it comes to vaccinations. 

Nidwalden is in the lead with 13.96 doses per 100 residents.

Nidwalden is among those who started vaccinating first in Switzerland on December 23rd, along with Lucerne, Uri, Schwyz, Zug and Obwalden.

Uri has vaccinated the second most (13.42 per 100), followed by Glarus (12.21). 

Bringing up the rear is the capital Bern, which is perhaps no surprise as the canton was the last of Switzerland’s 26 to start vaccinations. 

The de facto capital didn’t start vaccinating until January 11th and now has 8.60 people per 100 vaccinated so far. 

Zurich, Switzerland's most populous canton, has carried out the most vaccinations, with 125,375 in total. 

Note: This story featured up-to-date information as at February 18th. Please click the following link for the most up-to-date information. 

UPDATED: Which Swiss cantons are vaccinating fastest against coronavirus?

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HEALTH

Reader question: Can I put my Swiss health insurance on hold if I’m abroad?

Given how expensive health insurance premiums are in Switzerland, you may be tempted to suspend your policy while you are abroad. Is this possible?

Reader question: Can I put my Swiss health insurance on hold if I'm abroad?

Unlike the obligatory car insurance, which you can suspend temporarily by depositing your registration plates at the local motor vehicles office, rules pertaining to health insurance are much stricter.

As the Federal Office of Public Health explains it, “If you leave the country for a certain period to travel or study but do not take up residence abroad, you are still required to have [health] insurance in Switzerland”.

In other words, as long as you are a registered resident of Switzerland, regardless of your nationality or passport, you must keep your compulsory Swiss health insurance and pay your premiums. While you do this, you also remain covered against most medical emergencies while you travel.

However, rules are less stringent for supplemental health plans which can, in some cases, be put on hold, depending on the insurance provider, according to Switzerland’s Moneyland consumer website.

The only exception allowed for suspending the health insurance coverage is during a military or civil protection service which lasts more than 60 consecutive days.

“During these periods, the risks of illness and accident are covered by military insurance. Your health insurance provider will refund your premiums”, according to FOPH.

Under what circumstances can you cancel your Swiss health insurance?

Swiss law says you can cancel your insurance if you are moving abroad, either permanently for for a period exceeding three months.

If you do so, only claims for treatments given while you still lived in Switzerland will be paid by your insurance; any medical bills for treatment incurred after you officially leave will be denied.

These are the procedures for cancelling your compulsory health insurance if you leave the country under conditions mentioned above

To announce your departure abroad, you must send your insurance carrier a letter including your name, customer number or AVS/AHV number.

You must also include a certificate from your place of residence in Switzerland confirming that you have de-registered from your current address, as well as the date of your departure.

Note, however, that if your new destination is another Swiss community / canton, rather than a foreign country, your insurance can only be cancelled from the following calendar year and only if you present proof of having taken up a new policy with another company.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How to register your address in Switzerland

You can find out more information about this process here

If you suspend your health insurance for less than six years, you can reactivate it at a later date with the same company when you return to Switzerland.

READ MORE : What you should know about your Swiss health insurance before you go abroad
 

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