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Poll: Swiss worry how Covid-19 is polarising society

A demonstration in Bern against the Covid certificate and pandemic prevention measures on October 23, 2021. Keystone / Peter Schneider

As the Covid vaccination campaign continues to stagnate in Switzerland, increasingly polarised attitudes about the pandemic are a major cause for concern, a new survey has revealed.

This content was published on October 29, 2021 - 17:00
swissinfo.ch/sb

The poll carried out by the Sotomo research centre on behalf of SRG SSR (swissinfo’s parent company), published on Friday, found that 62% of people support the idea of the Covid certificate, which provides proof of vaccination, recovery or a recent negative test result. But extending its use from indoor spaces to ski resorts is not popular.

Although most respondents (79%) feel the certificate is an indirect way of forcing people to get vaccinated, 46% believe it gives greater freedoms, while 32% find it troublesome.

Currently, 63% of the Swiss population has been double jabbed.

The poll revealed great interest for booster jabs, which were recently made available for the over 65s and vulnerable: 58% say they are in favour.

Most people (57%) also support the idea of compulsory Covid vaccinations for health and nursing staff; 52% would like to see mandatory jabs introduced for teachers.

Sceptics

Meanwhile, only 6% of respondents – roughly one-quarter of those who are currently not vaccinated – said they would get a jab in the future. The main reason for not getting one is fear of damaging their health, alongside a strong belief in their own natural immune system. Almost 70% of the unvaccinated doubt the effectiveness of Covid vaccines, while 15% fear losing their fertility. Around 12% said they did not get vaccinated following medical advice.

The poll found that among vaccine sceptics in Switzerland many had roots in southeast Europe and the Balkans or affiliations to the rightwing Swiss People’s Party. Many were women or people on low incomes.

In recent months, opponents of the Covid certificate and other pandemic prevention measures have regularly demonstrated in many Swiss cities.

The poll identified social tensions resulting from the pandemic as one of the biggest concerns among the population.

Privately, almost one in two people say they are scared of getting into conflicts with friends and relatives over the pandemic, twice as many as in previous polls. Some 71% say they have argued with friends and family about Covid health measures and 31% have even ended relationships due to these disputes. Trust in political institutions has also been undermined in the current climate.

The poll was carried out by the Sotomo research centre on behalf of SRG SSR (swissinfo’s parent company). It interviewed over 59,000 people living in Switzerland, including 42,000 in German-speaking regions, 15,000 in French-speaking Switzerland and 2,000 in Italian-speaking Switzerland.

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