Getting vaccinated against COVID-19

7. FAQ on vaccination against COVID-19

Are you still hesitating to be vaccinated against COVID-19?
Do you still have questions regarding vaccination?
The FAQs below cover the most frequently asked questions. They should help you make your choice.

Vaccination

Why is is important to get vaccinated against COVID-19 ?

Vaccination helps to protect yourself and to protect other people.

While a coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) infection is most often a less severe form of COVID-19 for adults and children, the illness is more often worse for vulnerable people (ie. elderly people or people with an underlying health condition such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular or pulmonary disease, cancer, immunosuppressive diseases and the treatment of them).

COVID-19 can cause severe complications and consequences, requiring long-term hospitalisation and, in some cases, the need for intensive care. COVID-19 can also be fatal. This is why it is therefore important to get vaccinated.

The Federal Office of Public Health, the Federal Commission for Vaccinations, cantonal doctors, the Swiss societies of doctors and specialists recommend vaccination.
 

Why get vaccinated if one is not at risk?

Vaccination currently protects against the risk of disease complications or death and is therefore particularly recommended for the elderly or for vulnerable people. However, vaccination is still recommended for the general population because :

  • Vaccination protects you from COVID-19. Although many people do not develop symptoms or only a mild form of the disease, serious complications can occur. Even in cured people, including among the young and healthy population groups, a COVID-19 infection can leave important after-effects such as difficulty breathing during exercise or long term fatigue.
  • By getting vaccinated, you also partly protect the people around you and those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons (e.g. severe immunosuppressed persons). By getting vaccinated, you help to protect others and reduce the number of infections.
  • The coronavirus has a great impact on social and economic life. The fewer the infections, the sooner we will be able to return to a normal lifestyle. Vaccination can thus reduce the negative social, economic, psychological and health consequences of the pandemic.
  • Finally, vaccination will reduce the overload on hospitals, as fewer people will be severely ill, and it will therefore allow our health system to continue to function properly.
     

If I have had COVID, do I need to get vaccinated?

After being infected with COVID-19, the body develops antibodies against the disease. However, a body's responses differ from person to person, and antibodies developed against one variant may be less effective against another. According to current scientific knowledge, it is therefore impossible to state that antibodies resulting from an infection provide definite protection. However, it is known that vaccination in addition to a natural infection significantly reduces the risk of re-infection, and vaccination is therefore recommended for persons who have recovered from COVID-19.

Healthy persons who have had COVID-19 are invited to get vaccinated with a first dose between 4 weeks and 3 months after their infection certified by a positive test (PCR, rapid antigenic or serological test), according to the FOPH recommendations, or as soon as possible if the three months have already passed. 

A second dose is also recommended :

  • For persons suffering from immunosuppression, this additional dose can be received as early as 2 months after the first dose of vaccine.
  • For all other persons who have had COVID-19 and have already received a first dose of vaccine, the second (or booster) dose of vaccine is recommended as early as 4 months after the first dose of vaccine.  

If you fall ill with COVID-19 between your two doses of vaccine, then the second dose should be postponed and given within 4 weeks to 3 months of infection.
 

In some cases a booster dose is also recommended:

  • Following an infection that occurs between 0 and 4 months after the second vaccine dose of your primary vaccination scheme, you may receive a booster dose as of 4 months after the date of infection. 
  • If the infection occurs later than 4 months after the second vaccine dose of your primary vaccination scheme, a booster dose is not necessary.

 

I would like to be vaccinated but I cannot walk. How do I go about getting vaccinated?

If you have difficulty walking and getting around, you can be vaccinated by the mobile vaccination team of the Geneva homecare institution (imad), even if you are not a regular imad client. To do so, you just need to talk to your family doctor who will contact imad to request access to home vaccination.
 

 


1st dose, 2nd dose, 3rd dose & booster dose

Consult the leaflets :

 


Vaccination of young adults (16-30 years)

Consult the FAQ: 

COVID-19: Vaccination 16-30 years - Reasons for the vaccine

Consult the leaflet : Vaccination scheme
 


Vaccination for young persons aged 12 to 15 years

Consult the leaflet Vaccination scheme

 


Vaccination of children aged 5-11 years

Consult the leaflet Vaccination scheme

 


Vaccines 

What is an mRNA vaccine ? How does it work ?

 The mRNA vaccine contains a part of the genetic segment of the coronavirus called “messenger RNA” or “mRNA”. The RNA code is found in tiny droplets of fat. The messenger RNA instructs cells to create a harmless piece of protein, which resembles the outside layer of the coronavirus. When the immune system encounters this protein piece, it recognizes that it does not belong there, and therefore creates the antibodies to fight it.  Through this process, our immune system is then prepared in case of infection and our bodies will be able to rapidly eliminate any coronavirus encountered. The messenger RNA injected with the vaccine is broken down and disappears completely after 1 – 2 days. 

In Switzerland, the mRNA vaccines currently used in the COVID-19 vaccination campaign are: Comirnaty® manufactured by Pfizer/BioNTech and Spikevax® manufactured by Moderna.

For more information on the vaccines offered in Switzerland: www.infovac.ch and on the FOPH website

 

What are the differences between the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Moderna vaccines? Can one choose? 

There are few differences between the Pfizer/BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty® and Moderna's Spikevax® namely that the vaccines contain different additives.

Many elements are similar or identical for both vaccines. The similarities are the following:

  • Both are mRNA vaccines.
  • Both have high efficacy, close to 95%.
  • Both products are well tolerated.
  • Two injections are required at an interval of about four weeks. If the time between the two doses is slightly longer, this does not affect the efficacy.
  • The second injection should be given with the same vaccine.
  • Both products contain polyethylene glycol (PEG). Vaccination against COVID-19 is contraindicated if you have a known strong allergy to this substance.

Persons aged 16 years and over may choose which mRNA vaccine they wish to receive.

 

What are the differences between the Janssen® vaccine and the other vaccines?

The Johnson & Johnson's Janssen® vaccine is available in the canton of Geneva since 7 October 2021. Unlike Pfizer/BioNTech's Comirnaty® and Moderna's Spikevax®, the Janssen® vaccine is not an mRNA vaccine.

The Janssen® vaccine is characterised by a single dose injection. It protects against the risk of hospitalisation and avoids mild and asymptomatic infections, but is globally less effective than the two mRNA vaccines (Pfizer/BioNtech and Moderna) whose use is recommended in priority by the FOPH.

  • The Janssen® vaccine is not recommended for immunosuppressed persons, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and for persons in acute illness or quarantine (in both these situations, vaccination must be rescheduled to a later date).
     
  • Use of the Janssen® vaccine is contraindicated in persons with a severe allergic reaction to any of the components of this vaccine, with a known or probable immediate sensitisation to polysorbate 80 (E433) and with a history of capillary hyperpermeability syndrome.

    In case of doubt, it is advisable to consult a competent medical doctor.
     
  • The Janssen® vaccine is recommended for people aged over 18 who cannot be vaccinated with an mRNA vaccine for medical reasons (medical contraindications such as allergies to certain components of mRNA vaccines or an allergy following the administration of a first dose of mRNA vaccine, etc.) or who do not want to be vaccinated with mRNA vaccines.

    If this is your case and you wish to receive an appointment for a Janssen vaccine, you may register on the online registration platform and tick the Janssen box.

    The Janssen® vaccine also gives the right to a COVID-19 certificate, which is issued after the injection of the single dose and is valid from the 22nd day after the administration of the dose.

 

Can I receive a Janssen® vaccine dose if I didn't take my 2nd mRNA vaccine dose due to an allergic reaction to the 1st dose?

Yes, if you live in the canton of Geneva, you can receive the Janssen® vaccine with a minimum delay of 28 days after the first dose.

However, it is important to distinguish between a strong immune reaction (due to a previous infection with COVID) and an allergic reaction.

  • In case of a positive result, a serology carried out within 14 days after the vaccination may indicate a previous infection and in this case a second dose is not necessary. In this case, you can obtain your certificate by filling online the COVID Certificates e-démarches application form | ge.ch. The certificate is valid for 12 months from the day of vaccination. 
     
  •  If the serology is negative and to find out if you are indeed allergic to a component of an mRNA vaccine, it is advisable to consult your GP who will be able to assess whether a consultation with a specialist is recommended in your situation. You can also consult the recommendations for vaccination against COVID-19 in persons with allergic diseases of the Swiss Society of Allergology and Immunology. If you are allergic to one of the components of an mRNA vaccine, you can opt for the Janssen® vaccine in consultation with a specialist by registering on the online registration platform and ticking the Janssen® box.

I would like to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with an mRNA-free vaccine. Is this possible?

Yes, you can receive the Janssen® vaccine since 7 October 2021 if you live in the canton of Geneva and if you are not in the categories of persons for whom this vaccine is not recommended or contraindicated. All you have to do is register on the online registration platform by ticking the Janssen® box.
 

 


Safety and effectiveness 

What proof is there on the safety and effectiveness of these new vaccines ?

Many studies have been carried out to test the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines. These studies were carried out in accordance with international standards. They have taken place in many different countries and thousands of people agreed to participate in this research.

These studies have shown: 

  • Verification that the vaccines aren’t dangerous for our health (safety)
  • Evidence that the vaccines protect us from the COVID-19 illness (effectiveness):  For each 100 persons vaccinated with two doses, 95 of them avoided any infection when exposed to the virus. The 5 people who were infected only developed a mild form of the illness.  

Based on these studies, Swissmedic approved of these vaccines. 

Delta variant
The mRNA vaccines continue to be very effective against hospitalisations and severe disease, also in the case of infections with the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 (81-96% according to various studies), including among the elderly population. There is no evidence that vaccine protection is significantly weaker or of shorter duration than in the case of the Alpha variant. Current data are continuously evaluated.

Vaccination also reduces the transmission of the virus, including the Delta variant, because vaccinated people are much less frequently infected than unvaccinated people.

In case of infection with the Delta variant, vaccination shortens the period during which people are infectious. Vaccinated people transmit the virus less, but the effect of the vaccine on transmission is less important after infection with the Delta variant than with the other variants. Therefore, wearing a mask remains important to protect vulnerable people.
 

Omicron variant

Vaccine protection against infection due to the Omicron variant is reduced compared to the Alpha or Delta variant. However, vaccination is still very effective in protecting against severe disease and hospitalisation, regardless of the variant.
 

Can an mRNA vaccine change my genetic code (DNA)?

No, because the small segment of genetic code (RNA) that is injected does not penetrate the nucleus of our cells where our DNA is located. It cannot therefore change our genetic code. Moreover, the injected RNA is very fragile and is automatically eliminated by our body two days after the injection. The RNA remains in the body just long enough to produce proteins that trigger the immune system's reaction, i.e. the production of antibodies. These proteins, too, disappear afterwards.

Although mRNA vaccines are a new technology, they have already been the subject of almost 30 years of research worldwide (first studies in 1993). A large number of trials and results are therefore already available.
 

I have an appointment to be vaccinated but afterwards I have to get tested because I am going to travel. Do I risk having a positive test result for COVID-19? Should I cancel my vaccination?

Even if you have been vaccinated and obtained your COVID-19 certificate, countries may not recognise the vaccines in Switzerland and/or, depending on the epidemiological situation, may require a test (PRC or antigenic) in order to cross the border.  

In all cases and whatever the time between your vaccination (first or second dose or booster dose) and the test performed (PCR or antigenic), mRNA vaccines do not result in a positive PCR or antigenic test. You should therefore not cancel your vaccination appointment. 

If your test is positive, it could only be because you have been recently in contact with a person infected with SARS-CoV-2.

 

Can I receive other vaccines after an mRNA injection against COVID-19?

As with all other non-live vaccines, there is no minimum time interval between the administration of an mRNA vaccine and another vaccine. This is especially true for influenza vaccination.

 

 


Side-effects 

What are the possible side effects of these vaccines ?

The vaccines cannot cause COVID-19. Like most vaccines, these new ones can have mild side-effects. Such effects can appear on the day of vaccination or the day after. A few examples of some these are:

  • Slight discomfort around the area of injection (swelling*, redness, pain)
  • Tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Stiffness
  • Other mild forms of inflammatory reactions caused by the activation of the immune system. 

These reactions are normal and not dangerous. They may last between 1 and 3 days. They can be treated with paracetamol and do not need medical care. Pain can be treated with a cold pack. 

Moreover, there is no correlation between the presence (and degree of intensity) of side effects following a vaccine and its effectiveness on the immune system.

* A temporary inflammation at the injection spot has occasionally been observed after the COVID-19 vaccination called "COVID arm". This consists of redness and swelling, sometimes significant, which appears on the arm in where the vaccine was administered. These reactions usually occur about a week after vaccination. They are unpleasant but harmless, disappear after a few days without treatment, and have no long-term consequences. You can apply a cold pack to reduce the effects. If the discomfort is too great, contact your doctor, who will tell you how to alleviate it specifically. The second dose of the vaccination can and should be administered. It is recommended that the second dose be injected in the other arm instead.

Very rarely, severe side effects are observed, for example an allergic reaction (risk of less than 1 in 100,000 people). This reaction occurs within minutes of the injection and is quickly controlled with immediate medical attention. For this reason, vaccinated persons are monitored for at least 15 minutes after the injection.

In very rare cases, inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis) or pericardium has been observed shortly after vaccination. They occur between the 4th and 14th day after vaccination, in 80% of cases after the 2nd dose. A link with vaccination is currently considered possible. Most of these cases were mild and easily treated. The maximum risk of post-vaccination myocarditis/pericarditis is estimated at 6 cases/100,000 young men vaccinated, i.e. six times less than after COVID. Typical symptoms of inflammation of the heart muscle are chest pain, difficulty in breathing, a feeling of exhaustion and palpitations. If you experience these symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately.

No serious and long-lasting side effects are known to date. The authorities and vaccine manufacturers continue to monitor and collect data on side effects. If you experience serious side effects that are not listed above, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Serious side effects must be reported. The Swissmedic reporting service examines all reports.

You can find more information on side effects in Switzerland on the Swissmedic website.
Side effects of COVID-19 vaccines in Switzerland – update

 

I had a very strong reaction to my first dose. What should I do?

Sometimes the first dose of vaccine can cause a strong reaction (an allergic reaction, which usually occurs immediately after vaccination, or a "covid arm", which is a reddening and swelling, sometimes severe, of the arm in which the vaccine was given).

This strong reaction, which may be due to a variety of factors, could lead you to forego your second dose of the vaccine. This is an important question because depending on your decision, you may not be sufficiently protected after only one dose of vaccine and you may not be able to access your COVID certificate of vaccination.
 

  • An allergy to one of the components of the vaccine

For the vaccines used in Switzerland, the components that can cause an allergic reaction are polyethylene glycol (PEG)/macrogol in the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines and/or tromethamine in the Moderna vaccine.

If you have had strong symptoms (allergic/anaphylactic reaction, which usually appears immediately after vaccination with itching, swelling of the palms of the hands or soles of the feet, eyelids, oral mucosa, lips or tongue, red papules, breathing problems, shortness of breath, coughing, gastrointestinal problems, dizziness, feeling faint), it is recommended that you discuss this with your doctor or an allergist.

To find out if you are indeed allergic to a component of an mRNA vaccine, it is advisable to consult your GP, who will assess whether a consultation with a specialist is recommended in your situation.

You can also consult the recommendations for vaccination against COVID-19 in people with allergic diseases of the Swiss Society of Allergology and Immunology. 

Available in French:  Recommandations pour la vaccination contre COVID-19 chez les personnes atteintes de maladies allergiques de la Société suisse d'Allergologie et d'immunologie.

If you are indeed allergic to one of the components of an mRNA vaccine and you reside in Geneva, you may opt for the Janssen® vaccine, now available, in consultation with a specialist, by registering on the vaccination platform and ticking the Janssen® box.

 
  • A strong immune response suggesting that you may have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2.

It is possible that in the past year you have developed an asymptomatic form of COVID-19 and that you are therefore partially immune. In this case, it is recommended that you discuss your situation with your doctor and have a serology test done (possible up to 14 days after the 1st dose).

Please note: the cost of the serology in this case is not covered by the Confederation and will be at your expense.

If your serology is positive, you can skip the second dose and apply directly online for your COVID certificate by filling out the e-démarches Certificats COVID | ge.ch application form. The cantonal doctor will decide on the basis of your serological results whether you are eligible for your certificate with a single dose or whether you still need to have a second dose of the vaccine. If this is the case, when you go for your vaccination, you must inform the medical staff who will take care of your vaccination.
 

 


Counter-indications 

For whom is vaccination not recommended ?

The vaccine is not currently indicated for children under the age of 5 years because studies conducted to date have not included this population and there is a lack of data.

There are some people who would be advised to receive a vaccination (in medical terms it is “contraindicated”):

  • People who have had a previous serious allergic reaction to any vaccine or its composites

Other people who may have to wait before getting vaccinated include:  

  • People who are currently suffering from COVID-19
  • People who have an acute illness (fever, etc..). 
  • People in quarantine 
  • Pregnant women during the first term of pregnancy*
On the other hand, for people who have been ill with COVID-19 (confirmed by PCR or antigen test), the vaccine is recommended as early as 28 days after illness, with a single dose, and within 3 months of infection.

Being immunosuppressed is not a contraindication to vaccination (primary and booster dose). On the contrary, high vulnerability associated with immunosuppression is in itself a criterion for taking advantage of vaccination and trying to strengthen one's immune system. In some cases, 3 doses will be needed to complete the primary vaccination (this is because the immune response to vaccination may be weaker). This should be discussed with your GP.

* Laboratory tests on the administration of a vaccine during the first 3 months of pregnancy do not however indicate any direct or indirect adverse effects on pregnancy, embryonic/fetal development, birth or postnatal development. Since 28 May 2021, vaccination is recommended by the FOPH for all women who are pregnant in their second or third term, and who are either healthy, vulnerable (i.e. chronically ill) or at increased risk of exposure (e.g. healthcare workers).
 

Can I get vaccinated if I have seasonal, food, or medication allergies?

There are virtually no contraindications to the COVID-19 vaccines. People with seasonal, food or medication allergies can be vaccinated without any problem. In addition, each person vaccinated is monitored for 15 minutes after the injection so that severe allergic reactions, which almost always occur immediately, can be treated immediately.

However, the COVID-19 vaccine is not recommended for people with a proven severe allergy to one of its components. For the vaccines used in Switzerland, the components concerned are polyethylene glycol (PEG)/macrogol in the BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and/or tromethamine in the Moderna vaccine.

However, allergic reactions to both vaccines available in Switzerland are very rare. If you have had a severe allergy after an injection (including a vaccine), it is recommended that you seek advice from your GP or allergist.

 

I am ill with COVD, can I get vaccinated?

No, vaccination is not indicated during an ongoing COVID-19 infection implying a period of isolation. Vaccination should be delayed for either three or six months (depending on state of health) because the infection provides at least three months of natural immunity that protects against re-infection.

If an appointment has already been made, you should call the vaccination centre where you were registered to reschedule.
 

 


Pregnancy

Should pregnant women and breast-feeding women get vaccinated?

Data show that vaccination is safe for both the mother and the foetus. Vaccination has no known effect on pregnancy or fertility. Based on the views of various international expert groups and the data available on vaccination during pregnancy, vaccination against Covid-19 can be given to all pregnant women who wish to be vaccinated. 

Vaccination against COVID-19 is recommended for pregnant women because they are more likely to become seriously ill from COVID-19 than women who are not pregnant. Vaccination can protect them from serious illness due to COVID-19. 

Currently, all pregnant or nursing women have the possibility to be vaccinated against COVID-19, under the conditions below:

  • Vaccination with mRNA vaccine (but not the Janssen® vaccine) is recommended to all pregnant women whatever their state of health
  • Pregnant women do not require a medical certificate from their doctor or gynecologist. 
  • Pregnant women do not need to provide their written consent.

Vaccination is recommended from the 2nd term onwards. 

Vaccination is also recommended for women who are nursing and for women who are planning to get pregnant.
 

 


Immunity and vaccination coverage 

For how long is one protected by the vaccine against COVID-19?

Maximum vaccine protection begins two weeks after the second dose of vaccine. 

The full length of on-going protection is not yet known. It could be somewhere between a few months and a few years. 

With the emergence of the Omicron variant, it seems that vaccine protection against infection due to the Omicron variant is reduced compared to the Alpha or Delta variant. Nevertheless, whatever the variant, vaccination remains a very effective means of protecting oneself against severe forms of the disease and against hospitalisation. A booster vaccine is therefore strongly recommended to protect oneself and limit the risk of transmission.

A booster vaccine is currently recommended by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and the Federal Commission for Vaccinations (FCV),  as early as 4 months after the administration of the 2nd dose of vaccine or infection, although this practice doesn't currently match the Swissmedic authorisation.

 

Can we drop other protective measures, one vaccinated?

No, protective measures are still necessary because even if vaccination protects against a severe form of the disease, it is not yet known for sure whether being vaccinated prevents the virus from being transmitted. Protective measures (hand hygiene, wearing a mask and social distance) remain essential, even for vaccinated people.
 

Does vaccination imply the end of the pandemic?

No, vaccination primarily protects those who are vaccinated against a severe form of the disease. The more people who are vaccinated, the less the virus circulates. However, it is not expected that group immunity will be sufficient to curb the epidemic in the coming months.
 

Do virus mutations (variants) affect the vaccine ?

Since its appearance, the virus has undergone several mutations and several variants are currently circulating around the world. Initially named after the country where they first appeared, some of the most common variants and most preoccupying variants (Variants of concern: VOC) were renamed in June 2021, following a decision by the World Health Organization (WHO): 

Principal variants of concern (VOC)

WHO denomination Ligne Country of identification
Alpha B.1.1.7 Great-Britain
Beta B.1.351 South Africa
Gamma P.1 Brasil
Delta B.1.617.2 India
Kappa B.1.617.1 India
Omicron B.1.1.529 South Africa

The COVID-19 vaccine also protects against the variants of the coronavirus currently circulating in Switzerland. The mutations observed do not call into question the protection of the vaccine because the mutations do not affect the elements that determine the protective mechanism of the vaccine. With regard to the Omicron variant, studies are underway to determine whether this variant is more virulent, transmissible and/or resistant to immunity conferred by infection or vaccination.

The Swiss health authorities are closely monitoring the development of new variants at the international level. If necessary, it should be possible to modify the vaccine accordingly.

In the case of an epidemic, it is possible that new variants emerge. Vaccination slows down the spread of the virus, thereby limiting the appearance and transmission of new variants. The less people get vaccinated, the higher the risk that variants will multiply.
 

I am vaccinated? Can I still be infected and in this case, what must I do?

Although vaccination provides very high protection against infection, infection is still possible. Thus, even if a person has been vaccinated, he/she can be infected and can transmit the virus. It should be emphasised that vaccine protection against infection due to the Delta and Omicron variants is reduced compared to the Alpha variant. Vaccination remains nonetheless very effective in protecting against severe disease and hospitalisation, whatever the variant.

All people who test positive for COVID-19 should go into isolation, including vaccinated people. As with any person who tests positive, the cantonal medical service is informed of the test result and will carry out a family and friends survey to identify close contacts, and will formally announce the isolation. 

See also: Isolation and quarantine
 

 


Vaccination and COVID Certificate

Persons vaccinated in Geneva: How to obtain a COVID certificate?

The COVID Certificate for Vaccinated Persons site provides detailed information about the certificate and how to obtain a certificate.

 


Important
The COVID certificate is personal. When checked, the certificate holder may be asked to prove his or her identity by means of an official identification document with a photo (e.g. an identity card). 

The information on the certificate - surname(s), first name(s), date of birth - should be identical to the information on the identity document.

  • When registering for vaccination or applying for a certificate, we ask you to provide the same personal details as on your identity documents. 
  • Upon receipt of your certificate, please check that the data matches. If such is not the case, a new certificate may be requested.  To obtain a new corrected certificate, you may get advice directly from the COVID-19 Green Line (0800 909 400).

 

Persons fully vaccinated abroad: How to obtain a COVID certificate in Switzerland?

The COVID Certificate for Vaccinated Persons site provides detailed information about the certificate and how to obtain a certificate.

  • People fully vaccinated abroad and who have a digital COVID certificate from the European Union (issued by the EU and EFTA member states) don't need to apply for a Swiss COVID certificate because their certificate is recognised in all venues that require a COVID certificate in Switzerland.
     
  • Fully vaccinated persons outside the Schengen area who are living in, visiting or planning to visit Switzerland and who meet the criteria in the summary table can apply for a Swiss COVID certificate by filling in online the COVID Certificates e-démarches application form | ge.ch. They will have to provide proof of vaccination, proof of residence in Switzerland and attach an identity document to their application. 

 See also: FOPH website - Coronavirus: where and how to get a COVID certificate and how long it is valid

 


Important
The COVID certificate is personal. When checked, the certificate holder may be asked to prove his or her identity by means of an official identification document with a photo (e.g. an identity card). 

The information on the certificate - surname(s), first name(s), date of birth - should be identical to the information on the identity document.

  • When registering for vaccination or applying for a certificate (e-démarches), we ask you to provide the same personal details as on your identity documents. 
  • Upon receipt of your certificate, please check that the data matches. If such is not the case, a new certificate may be requested.  To obtain a new corrected certificate, you may get advice directly from the COVID-19 Green Line (0800 909 400).

Vaccination carried out partly abroad and partly in Switzerland: How to obtain a COVID certificate in Switzerland?

The COVID Certificate for Vaccinated Persons website provides detailed information about the certificate and how to obtain a certificate.

See also: FOPH website - Coronavirus: where and how to get a COVID certificate and how long it is valid


Important
The COVID certificate is personal. When checked, the certificate holder may be asked to prove his or her identity by means of an official identification document with a photo (e.g. an identity card). 

The information on the certificate - surname(s), first name(s), date of birth - should be identical to the information on the identity document.

  • When registering for vaccination or applying for a certificate, we ask you to provide the same personal details as on your identity documents. 
  • Upon receipt of your certificate, please check that the data matches. If such is not the case, a new certificate may be requested.  To obtain a new corrected certificate, you may get advice directly from the COVID-19 Green Line (0800 909 400).

 

 


Administrative aspects 

How much does the vaccine cost?

Vaccinations against COVID-19 are free. The costs are covered by health insurance (with no excess chargeable), the cantons and the State. Vaccination is not subject to any deductible or part-payment. 
 

Does vaccination result in a certificate?

A paper certificate is issued by the vaccination centre for each COVID-19 primary vaccination:

  • the first certificate is an intermediate certificate of vaccination;
  • the second certificate gives a summary of the two doses. It provides information on the vaccine batch used in the COVID-19 vaccination, the name of the person vaccinated and the date of administration of the two doses.
People who receive only one dose of vaccine receive only the certificate for the first dose.

Vaccination certificates provided by the vaccination centre have no legal value, especially with regard to border crossings and international travel. They do not replace the COVID certificate which is delivered by the Swiss federal authorities.

Following the booster vaccine a third certificate is provided by the vaccination centre which provides information on the vaccine batch used in the COVID-19 vaccination, the name of the person vaccinated and the date of administration of this booster dose. This certificate contains a QR code enabling the vaccinated person to download his/her COVID Certificate. It is valid for one year.

See also:
Travelling and quarantine
Coronavirus: Entering Switzerland (FOPH)
 

How must one register for vaccination ? Must one systematically register online using the vaccination registration platform ?

People who wish to receive a vaccination appointment must register online. This requires a mobile phone number to confirm the registration.

For people who have difficulty registering online and are unable to get help from a relative, various options are possible without necessarily having to use the online vaccination registration platform:

  1. By calling the COVID-19 Green Line (0800 909 400) to register on the on-line registration platform.
  2. By contacting the Geneva Red Cross

 

What if I am a cross-boarder commuter ?

Cross-border commuters covered by compulsory health insurance in Switzerland (LAMal) can be vaccinated in Switzerland in accordance with the vaccination recommendations. The cost is covered by the compulsory health insurance, the Confederation and the cantons.

Cross-border commuters who are not insured in Switzerland but who, because of their professional activity in Geneva, are exposed to a risk of infection (e.g. health personnel in contact with patients or care personnel in homes and EMS) can also be vaccinated in our country according to the same procedure, and will have to present a certificate from their employer. 

Cross-border commuters who are insured abroad (i.e. not under the LAMal scheme) and who do not belong to the exposed professional categories must be vaccinated in the country where they are domiciled.
 

I am Swiss but I live abroad. Can I get vaccinated in Geneva with my family?

Yes, Swiss nationals living abroad - with or without compulsory health insurance in Switzerland (basic insurance) - and their close family members living in the same household who are not Swiss nationals (partner, children, parents, parents-in-law) may be vaccinated in Geneva. When they are vaccinated for the first time, they must present an identity card/passport as well as a signed declaration that they are living together.
 

 


Can I be obliged to get vaccinated?

Vaccination against COVID-19 is a free decision for each individual in Switzerland.

The law on epidemics provides that the Confederation and the cantons can declare vaccinations compulsory for vulnerable groups of people and for certain people under very strict conditions. Here, it is not currently the case. Today many people want to be vaccinated and register, but the number of doses available is currently limited. This is why there is a waiting list for vaccination but all persons registered will be vaccinated.
 

 

Check also:

  1. Information regarding vaccination in various languages (FOPH website)
  2. Information in 16 langages proposed by the Swiss Red Cross regarding vaccination against COVID 19 in Switzerland: Explanations in English, Albanian, Amharic, Arab, Spanish, Farsi/Persan/Dari, Kurdish, Portugese, Russian, Romanian, Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian, Somali, Tamil, Tigrinya, Turkish) 

More information

Consult the FOPH website on vaccination; on coronavirus and/or the Infovac platform (in French, German and Italian).

 

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Last updated
3 May 2022

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