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Getting vaccinated against Covid-19 – what you need to know.

Switzerland launched its vaccination programme against Covid-19 at the end of last year, it is now being rolled out for the general public.

Why vaccinate?

The primary objective of vaccination against COVID-19 is to protect people who are at especially high risk and thereby reduce serious illnesses and deaths. The second objective is to reduce the burden on hospitals and care homes and ensure that the health system continues to function properly. The third, and last, objective is to reduce the negative consequences of the pandemic and stem the spread of the virus.

Must I have the vaccine?

Vaccination is entirely voluntary, and even though vaccination protects against illness, it is not yet clear whether it will prevent the transmission of the coronavirus. Therefore the hygiene and social distancing rules remain important measures to protect yourself and others from the coronavirus.

Who is to be vaccinated?

The first vaccines have already been distributed to care homes and health care workers within these centres.

Within the general public, the following people are to be given access to vaccinations in the following order:

  • People age 75 and over.
  • People with chronic diseases of the highest risk, regardless of their age.
  • People aged between 65 and 74.
  • People under 65 and people with chronic diseases who have not yet been vaccinated.
  • Finally the rest of the adult population wishing to be vaccinated.

There are no plans as yet to vaccinate children, adolescents or pregnant women as the corresponding study data is still lacking for these groups.

The timeline will be between now and end of June, by which time the hope is that everyone who wished to have a vaccine will have received it.

Which vaccines have been approved so far?

To date two vaccines have received Swissmedic approval: the Comirnaty® vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech and since 12 January 2021: the vaccine from Moderna.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is currently undergoing the approval process at Swissmedic.

How do I sign up to receive my vaccination?

You should check here to find out how to sign up for your vaccination according to your canton.

For the canton of Lucerne, you can sign up here and will be contacted when it is the turn of your group to be vaccinated.

How much does it cost?

The vaccination is covered by your insurance and any remaining costs are covered by the government. i.e. the vaccine is completely free for the public.

How does the vaccine work?

Here is a video explaining how the vaccine against Covid-19 works.

Should you have further questions about the vaccination, you can check this governmental website.

Sources for this article: SRF, Luzern Zeitung, FOPH and BAG websites.

charlie.hartmann@livinginluzern.swiss

Charlie Hartmann is the managing director of the Livingin organisation which focuses on helping international residents connect, grow and thrive in Switzerland.

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