The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and Cantonal health authorities have adopted the standard position for the COVID-19 Vaccine distribution. Swiss residents, who hold a mandatory health insurance (Swiss health insurance card), and who are in the priority target group, can register to get a vaccination via official channels. In this blog post, we explore what Swiss residents that do not hold a Swiss health insurance can do, if they want to be vaccinated.
The standard position taken by the authorities in Switzerland (CH) is that CH residents, who hold a mandatory health insurance, and who are in the priority target group (people over 75 years of age; people with chronic diseases who are at the highest risk of suffering a severe case of COVID-19; people who live in a retirement or care home and the staff who are in contact with residents of such facilities) can register to get a vaccination via official channels (depending on the canton). However, there are scenarios which fall into the CH legal regulations, but where the application is unclear, as there are CH residents who do not have a CH health insurance in place, commonly cross border commuters and international employees, who are exempted from mandatory CH health insurance. As such, the Federal Council has updated the ordinance on 3 February 2021 to explicitly clarify who is covering the costs of the COVID-19 vaccine. In this updated blog we walk through the scenarios and explore the process of obtaining vaccination, and whether the costs are borne by the CH government.
Crossborder commuters scenarios:
- Cross border commuters, who have a CH health insurance: can be vaccinated in CH according to the priority target group. The costs will be covered by their mandatory CH basic health insurance, the CH federal government and the cantons.
- Cross border commuters, who are not insured in CH, but who are exposed to a risk of infection in the course of their job: for example health personnel (e.g. doctors, nurses, health care providers, etc.) and care providers in retirement or similar homes, can be vaccinated in CH and the cost will be covered as mentioned above.
- Cross border commuters, who have their residency and health insurance abroad and are not at risk of infection because of their work: in these cases, as the individuals have their residency and health insurance provider abroad, it is highly recommended that they are vaccinated in their country of residency and discuss with their health insurance provider abroad what the process is to be followed for the cost of the vaccination.
International assignees scenarios:
- International assignees with habitual place of domicile / residency in CH: can be vaccinated in CH according to the priority target group, and the cost of the vaccination will be covered the Swiss government.
The COVID-19 vaccination is also free of charge if:
- The individual lives in Switzerland and, for example, works for a diplomatic or consular representation or an international organization.
- The individual lives in Switzerland as a student or pensioner.
Kindly note that tourists / travelers will not be vaccinated in CH, for as long as there are not enough vaccine doses available for the entire CH population. The COVID-19 vaccination is reserved for people with their place of residence in CH or individuals belonging to one of the above-mentioned categories.
With this expansion, more groups of people will be eligible to access the COVID-19 vaccination free of cost. The aim of the Federal government, by covering the vaccination costs for a wider Swiss resident population, is to encourage those living or working in Switzerland, and who are not covered by Swiss health insurance, to get vaccinated.
Please note that the priority target group population remains in place as originally established by the CH authorities. In addition, the CH Cantons are required to cooperate and adjust their current process to fulfill the new ordinance of the Federal government.