Confederation and cantons focus on national vaccination week

Concerts by Sophie Hunger, coffee at Zurich's main train station, and celebrity ads: the federal government and the cantons are pulling out all the stops during the upcoming national vaccination week to convince hesitants of the benefits of vaccination. The campaign will cost the federal government around 100 million Swiss francs.

Bund und Kantone

"With Vaccination Week, we really want to take another step forward," Health Minister Alain Berset told the media in Bern on Wednesday. With the vaccination offensive, a "last call" is made. It is a "good thing".

President Guy Parmelin added that the main purpose of the vaccination week is to inform. Defeating the virus is in the interest of society as a whole. The work of persuasion is hard, but it is worth it. With the vaccination week, vaccinated people would also have the opportunity to get their questions answered.

Advertisements from over eighty personalities from the worlds of sport, culture, business and politics will provide information. In addition, a concert tour will take place, accompanied by vaccination advice and vaccination opportunities. Musicians such as Stefanie Heinzmann, Danitsa, Stress, Dabu, Kunz, Baschi, Anna Rossinelli and Sophie Hunger will play in various cities in Switzerland.

In all cantons, other local events will take place, such as a vaccination night or a livestream with experts. In Zurich, there will be coffee and doughnuts at the main train station, according to Zurich Health Director Natalie Rickli.

Cantons are "highly motivated

According to Lukas Engelberger, President of the Conference of Cantonal Health Directors (GDK), the vaccination campaign is running at full speed in all cantons. He said vaccination will be perceived in a new way and through new channels starting next week. "We are top motivated for the vaccination week," Engelberger said. The goal, he said, is to bring vaccination closer to the people.

The effort to convince unvaccinated people will be greater, but it will still be worth it. "Because every vaccination counts," Engelberger said. The more people who are vaccinated, the better. The federal government and the cantons do not provide any information about a specific target for vaccinations.

It is not yet clear how many additional mobile counseling and vaccination centers will be on the road in the cantons. Only 13 cantons have already submitted their programs, the Federal Council explained.

The national vaccination week is part of the vaccination offensive, which the Federal Council decided in mid-October to increase the vaccination rate. Two other pillars are the increase in mobile counseling and vaccination centers for low-threshold access to vaccination and a counseling service with trained persons for individual discussions.

Parmelin appeals for solidarity

President Guy Parmelin again appealed to the solidarity of society to put an end to the pandemic. "Make yourself immune to the virus, it is in the interest of all of us." Vaccination, he said, is the simplest means on the road back to a normal everyday life.

On average, one hospitalization can be avoided for every 50 vaccinations and one intensive care unit occupancy for every 150 vaccinations, according to a statement by the Federal Council. In addition, costs would be saved by avoiding closures, for example in the catering and hotel industry.

With 73 percent of the population over 12 years of age, Switzerland has a low vaccination rate compared to other countries. The vaccination rate is too slow to prevent another strong wave of infection during the cold season, he said. "An additional effort before winter is needed," Berset said.

In Switzerland and Liechtenstein, 2607 new coronavirus infections were reported to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) within 24 hours on Wednesday. At the same time, the FOPH registered 5 new deaths and 57 hospital admissions.

Stricter on rapid tests

In the future, there will no longer be a Covid certificate for nasal antigen rapid tests because the test quality is insufficient, the Federal Council states in a statement. A certificate will only be available for tests with a nasopharyngeal swab.

Since October 11, 2021, the federal government has financed the tests - rapid antigen tests and saliva PCR pool tests - of people who have received a first vaccination but not yet a Covid certificate. The Federal Council has now decided that testing for these individuals will continue to be covered up to a maximum of six weeks after initial vaccination.

The Federal Council has also adjusted the cost coverage for rapid antigen tests by the federal government and reduced it from currently 47 Swiss francs to a maximum of 36 Swiss francs. The federal government may continue to be charged a maximum of the amount invoiced to the self-paying person.

Swiss Covid certificate for recovered

The Federal Council has further decided to introduce a Swiss Covid certificate. This will allow the validity period of the Covid certificate to be extended to 12 months for recovered persons in Switzerland. In addition, persons with a current positive antibody test can also receive a Swiss certificate. This is valid for 90 days and only in Switzerland. The adjustment will come into force on November 16.

The Federal Council has also decided that booster vaccinations will also be free of charge. And finally, the government wants to continue to provide financial support not only for regional passenger transport and rail freight, but also for local transport and tourist transport. Parliament will decide on the additional Corona credits totaling 215 million francs. (SDA)

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