Covid certificate not as simple as it seems for Swiss abroad

The Swiss Covid cert: available for those who have been vaccinated, but it depends where... Keystone / Christian Beutler

Swiss living in non-EU countries who have received a Covid vaccine not approved in Switzerland – that of AstraZeneca, for example – are not eligible for a valid Covid Certificate here.

This content was published on July 28, 2021 - 16:04

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) confirmed on Wednesday a story by public broadcaster SRF about a Swiss citizen vaccinated in Jordan but ineligible for a Covid certificate in Switzerland.

As a result, the woman still has to take a test and show a negative result if she wants to take part in events that require showing a valid Covid Certificate, SRF reported.

In Switzerland this mainly affects large gatherings like concerts or sports games; for smaller concerts and events, as well as access to restaurants, it’s left to the discretion of organisers and owners to demand or not a valid certificate.

The FOPH said the conditions for receiving a certificate of vaccination are that the person has received the required number of doses of a vaccine already approved in Switzerland – that is, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson.

The AstraZeneca vaccine, in use in 181 countries around the world, has not been approved in Switzerland. Officials from the health regulatory body Swissmedic received the application in October last year, but say they are still waiting on more solid clinical data.

Ironically, if a Swiss living abroad in a European Union country has been fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca, they can still take part in large events here without any issues, since Switzerland officially recognises the EU Covid certificate.

On June 9, both Switzerland and the EU announced that they had mutually recognised each other’s certificates, with the goal of easing travel and cross-border movement as countries open up for the summer holidays.

It’s the second time in two weeks that the Swiss abroad have been in the news due to vaccine issues. A fortnight ago, the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) complained about the government’s unwillingness to include in its vaccination plan Swiss living in areas where they can’t get a jab.

OSA president Remo Gysin said the Swiss government’s decision to prioritise those living within Switzerland was a violation of the Swiss expats’ rights to equality.

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