Coronavirus: Vaccination

Switzerland’s vaccination programme has been under way since January 2021. We recommend a COVID-19 vaccination with an mRNA vaccine for everyone aged 12 and over.

COVID-19 vaccination infoline

New number: +41 800 88 66 44
Still operational: +41 58 377 88 92

every day from 6am to 11pm

Where can I register for a vaccination?

Your canton is responsible for the vaccination. On your canton’s website you’ll find answers to the following questions: How is the vaccination organised? How can you register? There is a list of cantonal websites at foph-coronavirus.ch.

Why should I get vaccinated?

Seven good reasons to get vaccinated:

  • You protect yourself from catching COVID-19 and getting very sick.
  • You get immunity the safe way.
  • You help reduce the number of cases.
  • You help combat the effects of the pandemic.
  • You prevent potential long-term debilitating effects of COVID-19 (long-term effects of COVID-19)
  • You help relieve pressure on the healthcare system.
  • You help us get our everyday freedoms back.

When can I get vaccinated?

Under the COVID-19 vaccination strategy, priority for vaccination is to be given to the following target groups in the order shown:

  • Target group 1: People at especially high risk, from age 16
  • Target group 2: Healthcare professionals with patient contact/carers for people at especially high risk
  • Target group 3: Close contacts (household members or relatives providing care) of people at especially high risk, particularly people with a weakened immune system, from age 16
  • Target group 4: People in communal facilities with an increased risk of infection and outbreaks (for example homes for the people with disabilities), age 16 to 64
  • Target group 5: Adults (age 16 to 64) who do not fall into target groups 1 to 4
  • Target group 6: Adolescents (age 12 to 15)

Vaccinations are voluntary in Switzerland. There are no plans for compulsory COVID-19 vaccination. You can decide for yourself whether or not you want to be vaccinated.

I have recovered from COVID. Should I get vaccinated?

The vaccination is also recommended if you have recovered from COVID. You are protected from renewed infection for a certain period of time, but it is not clear how long for. You are better protected against a renewed infection if you are vaccinated. We therefore recommend that you have the vaccination within three months of infection to give you long-term protection. From 4 weeks after a confirmed coronavirus infection, one dose of vaccine is sufficient. You do not have to have a second dose.

Was the infection more than three months ago? If so, you should get vaccinated as soon as possible. In this situation too, you only required one vaccine dose for full vaccination.

There are exceptions for people at especially high risk. For more information about this please consult your doctor.

I am pregnant or trying for a baby. Can I get vaccinated?

We recommend the COVID-19 vaccination before or during pregnancy as pregnant women are much more likely to suffer severe symptoms than non-pregnant women of the same age. The risk of premature birth is also significantly increased if you catch coronavirus during pregnancy. Vaccination before or during pregnancy protects both you and your unborn child.

Are you trying for a baby? If so, you should get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Are you already pregnant and didn’t get vaccinated before you got pregnant? If so, we recommend the vaccination from 12 weeks of pregnancy (i.e. from the 2nd trimester). In principle, it is also possible to get vaccinated at an earlier stage of pregnancy.

If you’re pregnant or are trying for a baby and have questions on vaccination, talk to your doctor or midwife.

Can children and adolescents be vaccinated?

Vaccination of young people aged 12 and over

The vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are approved for persons aged 12 and over.

The vaccination is recommended for all young people aged 12 and over. The vaccine protects against frequent mild and very rare severe cases of COVID-19. It also helps to avoid the negative consequences of protective measures (e.g. isolation/quarantine) and the consequences of frequent exposure (e.g. at school or in their leisure time).

The recommendation applies in particular to

  • adolescents with a chronic illness
  • adolescents who are close contacts (e.g. household members) of people at especially high risk, particularly of people with a weakened immune system
  • adolescents living in community institutions where there is a higher risk of infection and outbreaks of the disease.

Vaccination of children under 12

Currently there are no plans to vaccinate children under 12. Study data for the relevant age groups is not available. The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are not yet authorised in Switzerland for children under 12.

Who covers the costs of the vaccination?

The costs of a COVID-19 vaccination are covered by compulsory health insurance. The costs that are not covered by health insurance are borne by the federal government and the cantons.

Do you have compulsory health insurance in Switzerland? Then the vaccination is free of charge for you. You don’t have to pay any deductible or copayment.

Do you not have compulsory health insurance in Switzerland? Then the COVID-19 vaccination is also free of charge for you in the following cases:

  • Your permanent or habitual place of residence is in Switzerland. (This applies, for example, to people who work for a diplomatic or consular representation or an international organisation, including members of their families, and to employees on secondment, students and retired people.)
  • You are a cross-border commuter. Please ask your employer for more information about how vaccinations are organised.
  • You are a Swiss citizen living abroad or an immediate family member (partner, child, parent, parent-in-law) living in the same household as the Swiss citizen living abroad.

For these groups the costs of the COVID-19 vaccination in Switzerland will be covered by the federal government.

The costs will not be covered if you are not in one of the groups listed above. This is the case, for example, for travellers from other countries such as tourists or business travellers. You should have the COVID-19 vaccination at your place of residence.

You will find more detailed information on the funding of the COVID-19 vaccination on the page for health professionals (in German, French and Italian).

How is the vaccination documented?

Every COVID-19 vaccination is documented. Below you’ll find information on the various possibilities for documenting the vaccination.

Proof of vaccination/vaccination record

At most vaccination locations, you will receive printed proof of vaccination from the healthcare professional after you have been vaccinated. This proof of vaccination lists the date and location of the vaccination, as well as information on the vaccine administered (trade name, manufacturer and batch number). At some vaccination locations, you can get the COVID-19 vaccinations entered directly in your vaccination record.

The proof of vaccination is a medical certificate and not an official document.

COVID certificate

Information is available on the COVID certificate page.

When am I fully vaccinated?

Fully vaccinated means:

1. You have been vaccinated as recommended by the FOPH and the Federal Commission for Vaccination (FCV) with a vaccine that is authorised in Switzerland. This means that

  • you have received two vaccine doses,
    or
  • you were previously infected with the COVID-19 virus (confirmed by PCR, rapid antigen test or antibody test) and received one vaccine dose at least four weeks after that.

2. You have received a vaccine that is authorised by the European Medicines Agency for the European Union. In addition the vaccination must be full (complete) and have been carried out according to the requirements or recommendations of the country in which it was administered.

3. You have received a vaccine that is authorised in accordance with the WHO Emergency Use Listing Procedure. The vaccination must also be full (complete) in accordance with the requirements or recommendations of the country in which it was administered.

Note: No time needs to elapse after the last scheduled dose of vaccine before you are deemed to be fully vaccinated – even though, from a medical point of view, the expected immune protection develops after around 1 to 2 weeks. With the exception of the Janssen vaccine. With Janssen you are fully vaccinated 22 days after the injection.

What are the benefits of being vaccinated?

If you are fully vaccinated, you are exempt from the following measures.

  • Exemption from contact quarantine requirement: For 12 months after being fully vaccinated you do not have to go into quarantine after close contact with someone who has tested positive. You will find more information on the Isolation and Quarantine page.
  • Exemption from the travel quarantine and other health-related measures at the border: You will find information on the page Entering Switzerland.
  • Relaxed measures for private gatherings: You do not have to social distance or wear a mask at private gatherings with other fully vaccinated people.

These exceptions are possible because the current data shows that the transmission of the coronavirus to other people is low after full vaccination. However, the vaccination does not provide 100% protection from infection. It is therefore important that you continue to observe the hygiene and social distancing rules to contain the spread of the coronavirus. All national rules and bans, for example the nationwide mask-wearing requirements and the specified limits on the number of people at gatherings of friends and family (for example get-togethers and parties), continue to apply, also to vaccinated people. It’s still important to get tested if you have symptoms. You’ll find more information on this on the Tests page.

For which vaccines does Switzerland have a contract?

The federal government has not yet signed an agreement with Johnson & Johnson for the Janssen vaccine. However, Switzerland has access to this vaccine through its participation in the COVAX Initiative as soon as it is available through COVAX.  

How are vaccines procured, developed and authorised?

Swiss vaccine procurement

The federal government is still in discussions with various vaccine producers. It is pursuing several vaccine procurement avenues and is also working internationally to this end. The federal government is also keen to procure different types of vaccine if possible. The public should also be offered alternatives to mRNA vaccines. This is because on the one hand there are people who are allergic to the ingredients of mRNA vaccines and therefore cannot get vaccinated. On the other, there are people who would prefer a conventional type of vaccine over the innovative mRNA technology. The federal government is keen to offer these people an alternative so they can get protected against COVID-19 as soon as possible.

Agreements with vaccine producers

The federal government has signed agreements with five vaccine manufacturers. Once a vaccine is approved by Swissmedic, Switzerland receives the number of doses reserved under the terms of the agreement. The vaccine manufacturers deliver the reserved doses to Switzerland in stages over several months.

  • Novavax: 6 million doses of vaccine
  • Curevac: 5 million doses of vaccine
  • Pfizer/BioNTech: 6 million doses of vaccine in 2021 / 7 million doses in 2022 / 7 milliondoses in 2023
  • AstraZeneca: 5.3 million doses of vaccine
  • Moderna: 13.5 million doses of vaccine in 2021 / 7 million doses in 2022

Switzerland gets additional access to vaccines because it is a member of the COVAX programme. Click on the link below for more information on the COVAX programme.

Development of a vaccine

The development and production of vaccines is a complex and costly task. The requirements placed on quality, effectiveness and, in particular, safety are high. That is why a vaccine has to undergo different development phases during production. A vaccine only moves to the next stage of further development once the existing phase produces good results.

Approval in Switzerland

Swissmedic is responsible for authorisation in Switzerland and decides whether a vaccine can be authorised. If Swissmedic is able to confirm the efficacy, safety and quality of the vaccine, it will grant market approval for Switzerland.

What is vaccination?

Vaccinations are the most effective protection against dangerous infectious diseases. They reduce the vaccinated individual’s risk of infection and falling ill. Furthermore, many vaccines also protect against transmission of pathogens to others, meaning that non-vaccinated members of the population are also protected indirectly.

Using a vaccine, the immune system is “acquainted” with the pathogen that gives rise to a disease without actually triggering the disease. This prepares the body’s own defence system should it be faced with an emergency situation. If a vaccinated person subsequently comes into contact with the pathogen, the immune system can quickly recognise it and render it harmless.

Further information on this topic can be found on the page Vaccinations and prevention.

Swissmedic has a video explaining the way a vaccination works.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Answers to frequently asked questions concerning COVID-19 vaccination can be found here.  

Additional information

  • On the Infovac website (available in German, French and Italian) you will find information on the different vaccine types.
  • In the Swissmedic article “Prevention rather than cure” (in German) you will find information on the authorisation of vaccines in Switzerland.
  • On the Swissmedic website you will find a document describing the recommendations for the treatment of patients in clinical trials during the development of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.
  • On the FCV website (available in German, French and Italian) you will find the catalogue of questions (analysis framework) used to decide whether a vaccine should be recommended.

Further information

Disease, symptoms, treatment

Information on Covid-19, the symptoms and the range of illness severity as well as the origin of the new coronavirus

Last modification 15.09.2021

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Contact

Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
COVID-19 vaccination Infoline
Tel. +41 58 377 88 92

Print contact

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