Tens of thousands of Swiss citizens are living in countries where they cannot get vaccinated, according to a report by Swiss public broadcaster SRF.
The head of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) wants the government to ensure that expatriate Swiss citizens get access to Covid-19 vaccines.
At least 78,000 Swiss citizens living abroad are unable to access Covid-19 vaccines in their country of residence, according to the SRF report on Monday. The government said it is prioritising residents of Switzerland in its vaccination campaign.
This leaves many Swiss citizens living abroad in a difficult situation. In Thailand, for example, non-Thai nationals are not eligible for vaccinations. SRF reports that despite a surge in Covid cases, Swiss citizens living in the Asian nation have no possibility of getting vaccinated.
While France has offered French citizens living in ThailandExternal link the opportunity to get inoculated, Switzerland currently lacks a similar plan, and is only likely to introduce one by Autumn of 2021.
In an interview with SRFExternal link, OSA president Remo Gysin said that the Swiss government’s decision to prioritise those living within Switzerland is a violation of the Swiss expats’ rights to equality. Gysin pushed for Switzerland to offer its citizens the opportunity to get vaccinated, even if those citizens find themselves outside of the country’s borders.
The Swiss foreign ministry told SRF that due to the nature of the vaccine procurement contracts, Covid vaccines bought by the Swiss government cannot currently be administered abroad.
The Federal Office of Public Health is in contact with the vaccine producers and is attempting to rectify this issue, according to SRF.
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