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Switzerland plans Covid-19 vaccination strategy

By next summer, Swiss health officials want to vaccinate about 70% of the population against Covid-19. Keystone / Karl-josef Hildenbrand

With a death toll of over 5,000, Switzerland (population 8.5 million) expects to launch its coronavirus vaccination campaign in early January.

This content was published on December 6, 2020 - 12:40
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The goal is to inoculate six million people by summer, which will mean up to 70,000 vaccine shots per day. Switzerland has reserved about 13 million vaccine doses from two suppliers and via the World Health Organization.

The cantons will decide where to provide vaccination services, at locations such as medical practices, gymnasiums and military facilities. Risk groups should be vaccinated first. In addition to senior citizens, that includes people with diabetes, chronic lung disease or high blood pressure.

Since the beginning of the pandemic over 340,000 people in Switzerland have been infected with Covid-19; over 3,000 are currently in hospital, of whom almost 500 are in intensive care.

On Saturday, federal and cantonal authorities discussed the Covid-19 crisis via video conference. On December 8, the federal government will decide what additional measures may be needed to prevent the spread of the virus across Switzerland and possibly in individual cantons. These will take effect on December 10.

Switzerland’s decision not to close ski resorts has sparked criticism, also in other countries. On Saturday, there were reports of crowding and failure to maintain social distancing at some Swiss resorts. From December 9, all enclosed ski transport, like gondolas and trains, will be limited to two-thirds capacity. Cantons have a duty to monitor compliance, the government warned.

Certain cantons have already adopted stricter measures. For example, Bernese restaurants are shutting at 9pm until December 14. In Graubünden, restaurants are closing altogether until December 18.

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