Vaccine demand rises in response to Covid certificate plans

Vaccinations as prepared in Zurich Keystone / Gaetan Bally

The Swiss government’s decision to extend the use of Covid certificates from next Monday has led to a rise in the number of people seeking to get the Covid jab across the country.

This content was published on September 10, 2021

Many cantons are ramping up access to Covid vaccinations. But some people have been getting the jab reluctantly.

On Wednesday the government said the Covid certificate, which shows if a person is vaccinated, tested or recovered, would be needed for indoor public spaces such as restaurants, culture events and leisure activities from September 13.

The aim is to prevent pressure on hospitals, notably at intensive care units and prevent a temporary closure of shops and offices.

Currently around 52% of the population is fully vaccinated, a lower rate than in many other European countriesExternal link.

Immediate effect

In some places the effect was immediate: in canton Valais, in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, almost 1,300 people signed up for a Covid vaccination on Wednesday, Swiss public television RTS reported on FridayExternal link.

The canton said on Friday it would offer more vaccination days in some towns over the next weeks.

Several other cantons also said they would be increasing access to appointments: the central canton of Uri is to offer more walk-in vaccinations and in canton Geneva (where demand on its vaccination portal rose 40% after Wednesday’s announcement) the University Hospital Geneva (HUG) will offer appointments on both Saturday and Sunday. Thurgau is also increasing access.

Not always willingly

But reports suggest that not everyone is going willingly. RTS said that staff at vaccination were seeing people who were still not convinced about the benefits of the vaccination.

“I am never ill; I never get anything. I am wondering if injecting this substance will change my body,” said one person in the RTS report, who nevertheless got the jab.

“Unfortunately, it is now really perceived as an obligation,” confirmed the head of the vaccination centre quoted in the report. “It's people who thought it wasn't necessary to be vaccinated, and they come not to protect themselves or others, but only to get the certificate,” he said.

Switzerland is being hit by a fourth wave of the new coronavirus. On Friday, there were 2,894 new infections, 98 hospitalisations and 11 deaths.

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