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HEALTH

Switzerland considers selling millions of AstraZeneca vaccine doses

Switzerland is currently investigating selling on the 5.3 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine it agreed to purchase. Switzerland declined to approve the vaccine in February.

Switzerland considers selling millions of AstraZeneca vaccine doses
Photo: THOMAS KIENZLE / AFP

The Swiss government wants to sell the 5.3 million doses it had already paid for, according to an article in NZZ am Sonntag.

“We are currently considering selling on the material” said Nora Kronig, deputy director of the Federal Office of Public Health.

READ MORE: Switzerland declines to approve AstraZeneca vaccine 

NZZ claims the decision was made because “AstraZeneca's vaccine has a bad reputation”.

“In the current situation, Switzerland is not dependent on the the vaccines from AstraZeneca”, said Kronig. 

Originally, the AstraZeneca vaccine was expected to make up around one seventh of the total vaccine doses in Switzerland’s entire vaccine drive. 

ANALYSIS: Will Switzerland's rejection of the AstraZeneca vaccine delay vaccinations? 

However, at the beginning of February, the regulatory agency Swissmedic said  that “the data currently available do not point to a positive decision regarding benefits and risks” of this vaccine. 

Vaccines from four other manufacturers have been approved for use in Switzerland. They are Pfizer/BioNtech, Moderna, Curevac , and Novavax. 

So far only two vaccines have been administered in Switzerland: those from Pfizer/BioNtech and Moderna. 

There have so far been no indications as to who would be the likely recipient of the 5.3 million doses, or under what circumstances and conditions the sale would be made. 

 

 

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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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