New stats show effectiveness of Switzerland’s Covid booster campaign

Of the 2.1 million Swiss who have received a booster shot, just 299 - or 0.014 percent - have been hospitalised due to Covid, highlighting the effectiveness of the booster campaign in preventing harsh courses of the disease.

A man gets the Covid vaccine in a restaurant
Switzerland launched booster vaccinations in late 2021. Photo: DENIS CHARLET / AFP

The figures are from the start of Switzerland’s booster campaign until the 31st of December, 2021. 

While people in high-risk categories have been receiving booster shots in Switzerland for several months, the campaign did not begin in earnest in most cantons until December. 

Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health released the information at the turn of the year. 

“As of December 30, 2021, 299 people were reported who were hospitalised in connection with a SARS-CoV-2 infection and have already received a third vaccination,” a spokesman told Swiss news outlet Nau. 

The figures represent a positive shift in the pandemic, showing that while infection rates are higher than ever in Switzerland, hospitalisations remain rare among those who have been vaccinated and in particular boosted. 

Swiss officials however cautioned that although the risk remains very low, i.e. less than a tenth of a percent – people in risk categories can still contract the virus and require hospitalisation despite being boosted. 

The FOPH said it was no longer recording data as to how many people were infected despite being fully vaccinated, saying that the focus should be on people who fell seriously ill as a result of catching Covid. 

How do I get a booster shot in Switzerland? 

The Swiss government recommends getting a Covid booster jab four months after your second dose

You can get your booster jab in the same way you got your first and second dose. 

Booster shots are administered by the canton in which you live. 

For more information about booster shots in Switzerland, including who is eligible and how to get one, please check out the following link. 

READ MORE: Covid booster vaccinations in Switzerland: What you need to know

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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.