Getting vaccinated against COVID-19

3. Vaccination scheme

Access to vaccination depends on the criteria of residence and natonality and/or health insurance coverage. Appointments are prioritised on the basis of age and vulnerability status.

1) Primary vaccination (1st et 2nd doses)

In Geneva, all persons aged 5 years+ may register on the COVID-19 vaccination platform  or (for persons aged 12+) get vaccinated without a prior appointment.

Vaccines

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

Since October 2021, the canton of Geneva also offers the Janssen® vaccine from Johnson & Johnson which is not an mRNA vaccine.

If you wish to receive the Janssen® vaccine, if you live in the canton of Geneva and if you do not belong to the categories of persons for whom this vaccine is not recommended or contraindicated. Simply register on the online platform by ticking the Janssen® box.

 

Delay in between dose 1 and 2

  • For Pfizer/BioNTech's Comirnaty® vaccine, a minimum of 21 days between the two doses is required to obtain the COVID certificate.

  • For Moderna's Spikevax® vaccine, a minimum of 28 days between the two doses is required to obtain the COVID certificate.

For both of these vaccines, however, there is no a maximum period between the two doses.

When registering for the vaccination, the second vaccination appointment is allocated according to the above deadlines but it is always possible to change the date of the second vaccination appointment, extending the deadline to 6 to 8 weeks after the first dose.

It should be noted that between the two doses, there is no 100% immunity, and it is therefore essential to continue to respect the rules of hygiene and conduct (interpersonal distances, wearing a mask, washing hands, etc.) to avoid any risk of contamination.

Available since October in Geneva, the Johnson & Johnson Janssen® vaccine is characterised by a single dose injection with regard to primary immunisation. 

Delay in between vaccine doses

  

See also:

Vaccine algorithm
Vaccine algorithm

One or two vaccine doses after having had COVID-19? And in what timeframe?
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Primary vaccination for young adults (16-30 years)

  • Vaccination of young adults : Why get vaccinated? 

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

  • Vaccination of young persons aged 16-17 years

For minors, the consent of parents or guardians is not required for vaccination against COVID-19. 
 

For more information:

See FOPH website

 

Primary vaccination for young persons (12-15 years)

Vaccination against Covid-19 for teenagers aged 12 to 15 years is recommended by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and the Federal Commission for Vaccinations to protect them against COVID-19 and to avoid transmitting the disease. 

COVID-19 is an infection caused by a new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). It is mainly transmitted by sick people when they cough, sneeze, talk or sing. Even if people have no symptoms, they can transmit the virus. Most of the time, the disease is mild among people aged 12 to 15 years - often they do not even have any symptoms. ymptoms of COVID-19 can be strong or weak.

Common symptoms are the following: sore throat, cough, difficulty breathing, chest pain, fever, loss of taste and smell. More rarely, one may experience a headache, weakness, muscle pain, sneezing, diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach ache or flushing.

In rare cases, young people aged 12 to 15 can have severe or long-lasting form of COVID-19. Among adolescents aged 12 to 15 years without chronic diseases, a severe course of illness or complications may also occur, but these are much less frequent than among older people.

Vaccination is particularly beneficial for adolescents:

  • if they are chronically ill, to avoid a worsening of their condition in case of COVID-19 infection;
  • if they have close contact with vulnerable people, such as the elderly or people with diseases such as cancer or who are taking medicines that lower their immunity.

Vaccination also avoids the negative consequences of indirect individual and collective measures (e.g. isolation and quarantine) and frequent exposure to the virus (e.g. at school, during leisure time).

Following the recommendations of the Federal Office of Public Health and the Federal Commission for Vaccinations, adolescents aged 12 and over may decide independently in favour of vaccination, if they are capable of judgement and after having received information on vaccination. It is nevertheless advised that adolescents aged 12 to 15 discuss an individual action plan for vaccination against COVID-19 with their parents or another trusted person.

For minors, the consent of parents or guardians is not required for vaccination against COVID-19. Minors between the ages of 12 and 15 will be asked to sign a consent form when they come to the vaccination centre. It is recommended that a parent(s) accompany them to the vaccination appointment(s).

The vaccine used for persons aged 12 to 15 years is the the Pfizer vaccine (Comirnaty®). Two doses of Pfizer vaccine, at least 3 weeks apart are necessary for primary immunisation). If the teenager has already been ill with COVID (and has had a test or blood test for this), one shot is sufficient.

The vaccine is injected into the arm muscle. After the injection of the vaccine, the teenager should stay in place for 15 minutes for observation following the first dose and only 5 minutes after the second dose, if everything went well during the first dose.

The vaccine is safe and effective. Like all medicines, it might cause side effects which are usually mild and short-lived. The most common side effects are reactions at the point of injection, such as pain, redness and swelling. One may also experience headache and fatigue. There may also be pain in the muscles or joints, shivering and fever.

A serious side effect cannot be excluded with certainty, but it is very rare. Very occasionally, a severe allergic reaction may occur, usually within minutes of the injection. This is why you should stay for a short time after the injection so that the vaccination centre staff can observe you and react by giving medication if necessary.

After being vaccinated, youngsters should still continue to respect the rules set by the health authorities to stop the spread of the virus. 

For more information:

See FOPH website

 

Primary vaccination for children (5-11 years) 

In Geneva, the vaccination scheme is open to all children aged 5-11 years since 5 January 2022. Two doses are administered 21 days apart. For children who have had COVID-19, a single dose is required.

For children who have had COVID-19
Vaccination is currently not recommended for healthy children who have recovered from COVID as no additional benefit is currently demonstrated for them. For children who have recovered from COVID and who have a chronic disease or who are living with an immunosuppressed person, a single dose is recommended.

Parents (or persons with parental authority) can now register their child aged between 5 and 11 for vaccination using the online platform.
The parent accompanying the child will have to show their identity card as well as that of the child.

Since 14 December 2021, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and the Federal Commission for Vaccinations (FCV) recommend vaccination with two doses (Comirnaty® mRNA vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech) for

  • Children aged 5 to 11 years who are severely affected by a chronic disease
  • Children who have close contact with vulnerable adults living in the same household, and who cannot for example protect themselves by vaccination due to an immunodeficiency. 

See also:

FOPH Information and FAQ sheet - COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 5 to 11

 

Access to vaccination for persons who cannot walk or with reduced mobility

People with reduced mobility can be vaccinated by the mobile vaccination team of the Geneva homecare institution (imad), even if they are not regular imad clients. They should speak to their GP who will contact imad to request access to vaccination at home.
 

Highly vulnerable persons (immunosuppressed)

According to the recommendations of Swissmedic and the FOPH, a third dose of the vaccine is recommended as part of the primary vaccination for highly vulnerable persons, i.e. those with a high level of immunosuppression, who have not had a sufficient response to their first two doses.

Highly vulnerable persons are, for example, persons undergoing oncological treatment (certain chemotherapies) or transplanted persons who did not produce a sufficient response to the first two doses to improve their protection against the virus. In order to obtain their third vaccination appointment, persons with a high level of immunosuppression must therefore consult their doctor, who will provide them with a medical recommendation when refering them to the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG).

 

Primary vaccination after a COVID infection

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 all persons aged 16 and over.

  • 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 aged 16 years and over 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.  
     

Necessary documents

Any person falling into one of the categories mentioned below may register on the vaccination platform. Depending on the category, they will have to present various documents during their vaccination appointment :

Category Documents to provide
Persons residing in the canton of Geneva (and their children) who have subscribed to a basic health insurance (LAMal regime)

Identity card/passport
+ if applicable, residence permit

+ medical insurance card

Cross-border commuters (and their children) with basic health insurance (LAMal or other)

Identity card/passport

+ medical insurance card

Cross-border commuters working in international organisations with expatriate status 

Identity card/passport

+ legitimation card

Cross-border commuters who work in a Geneva health institution as health professionals and who are not covered by the LAMal insurance scheme

Identity card/passport

+ certificate of employment

Swiss nationals abroad - with or without compulsory health insurance in Switzerland (basic insurance) - and their close family members living in the same household and who are not Swiss nationals (partner, children, parents, parents-in-law)

Identity card/passport

+ if applicable, medical insurance card

+ a signed declaration attesting to their household community

Important - Children vaccination: The parent accompanying the child will have to show his/her identity card as well as that of the child.

 


People who aren't eligible for vaccination in the canton of Geneva and who have nevertheless registered on the Geneva vaccination platform will be refused access to the vaccination centre for which they received vaccination appointments.

If you are not eligible for vaccination in the canton of Geneva and you have registered on the Geneva vaccination platform, please contact the COVID-19 Helpline to unsubscribe (by e-mail or phone 0800 909 400 - free call 7/7 - 9am-5pm / dial 0041 800 909 400 from abroad).
 

 

 2) Booster dose 

In Geneva, all persons aged 12 years+ may register on the online platformin order to receive the booster dose.

According to the latest recommendations of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and the Federal Commission for Vaccinations (FCV), a booster dose can be given as early as 4 months after the 2nd dose of the vaccine or infection, although this does not yet correspond to the authorisation issued by Swissmedic. 
 

Presently, only one booster dose is recommended.

For the moment, there is no medical indication for a second booster dose with an mRNA vaccine. It is currently not recommended by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and is still an "off-label" vaccination.

However, a second booster vaccine is not contraindicated and may be administered as early as four months after the last vaccination, if this is needed for individual reasons (e.g. for travel or if you are in close contact with a vulnerable person).

Registration for a second booster dose is possible online. Please consult your GP if you have any doubts or questions.

 

Vaccines

In general, the vaccine used for the booster dose is the same as that used for the primary vaccination.

Persons aged 18 and over who have had a specialist-confirmed allergic reaction to one of the components of an mRNA vaccine (Comirnaty® or Spikevax®) after the first dose may receive Janssen® vaccine instead for their booster dose. When registering online , the Janssen® box must be ticked.

 

Criteria for registration

The FOPH recommendations for booster vaccination are the following:

  • persons aged 12 and over,
  • fully vaccinated persons (i.e. full vaccination with the mRNA vaccine : 2 doses or 1 COVID recovery proven by a positive PCR or antigen test or serological evidence + 1 dose),
  • at least four months after the basic immunisation. 

Persons meeting these criteria must register directly on the platform to make an appointment. Registration for the booster dose will be done via the direct booking system which allows you to choose the time slot. It is also possible to make an appointment via the COVID-19 Green Line (0800 909 400).

Persons who do not yet meet these criteria can pre-register online, in order to receive an SMS informing them of the opening of available time slots for their age category, vaccination coverage or vaccination deadline. 
There is no walk-in vaccination for booster vaccination. Registration online is mandatory. 

Delay in between primary vaccination and booster dose

Delay in between primary vaccination scheme(1) and booster dose
  • With a primary vaccination with an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer/BioNTech's Comirnaty® vaccine or Moderna's Spikevax® vaccine), the booster dose with an mRNA vaccine can be carried out as early as 4 months or more after the administration of the second dose of vaccine or infection (see graph below), although this is not currently in line with the authorisation issued by Swissmedic. 

    Please note that even if the 4-month period is exceeded, the booster dose can be given. It is not necessary to repeat the primary vaccination schedule.

    Booster post infection

 

  • With a primary vaccination with Johnson & Johnson's Janssen® vaccine, the delay is at least two months for a Janssen® booster dose, but at least four months if a booster with an mRNA vaccine is used.

Delay in between vaccine doses


(1) A person is considered fully vaccinated within the primary vaccination scheme if he or she has received

  • 1 dose before or after a confirmed COVID-19 infection (PCR test, rapid antigen test, serology), with a minimum interval of 4 weeks;
  • or 2 doses of a vaccine recognised in Switzerland (Pfizer, Moderna)
  • or 1 dose of Janssen vaccine;
  • or a vaccine authorised by the EMA and in accordance with the requirements of the country where she was vaccinated (BioNTech, Janssen, Novavax, Moderna, AstraZeneca);
  • or a vaccine authorised by the WHO and in accordance with the requirements of the country where she was vaccinated (Sinopharm, Sinovac, COVAXIN, COVOVAX, Comirnaty, Vaxzevria, Janssen, Spikevax, Novavax).

Booster dose for young persons (12-15 years)

Vaccination of the booster dose for 12-15 year olds is possible, by registering directly on the vaccination platform.

The vaccine used for persons aged 12 to 15 years is the the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (Comirnaty®).

For the booster, there is also no need to fill in a separate child consensus form again as 12-15 year olds who have received their primary vaccination scheme have already agreed to be vaccinated. 

The presence of a parent is recommended but not mandatory. 

The FOPH recommends a booster vaccination for adolescents aged 12 to 15, especially if they wish to

  • increase their personal protection against severe forms of the disease
  • reduce the risk of transmission to their close contacts (persons living in the same household).

 

Booster dose after a COVID infection and following primary vaccination

  • 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. 
  • When the infection occurs more than 4 months after the primary vaccination, it is considered as an immune booster. In this case, a booster vaccine is therefore not necessary.

You may register directly on the platform or through the COVID-19 Green Line (0800 909 400) to receive a booster shot. The direct booking system allows you to choose the time slot.

Note
In both cases above, and for persons aged 16 years+, the FOPH states that a booster dose can be given as early as four months after the last vaccination or infection (or even less than four months after infection) if this is required for individual reasons (e.g. for travel to countries that demand proof of a booster). 
For persons aged 16 to 17 years, booster vaccination is recommended with Comirnaty®, for persons aged 18 to 29 years, Comirnaty® is preferably recommended.
Please note that in order to obtain an appointment for a booster dose to be administered less than 4 months after a booster infection, it is not possible to register directly online. In this case, you have to call the COVID-19 Green Line (0800 909 400).

 

Booster after infection?
 

Booster dose for persons who underwent their primary vaccination abroad

Persons who underwent their primary immunisation abroad and wish to receive their booster dose in Geneva are invited to submit a request by e-mail.

 

Booster dose for highly immuno-suppressed persons

For persons aged 16 years or older with severe immunodeficiency, a booster is also recommended from 4 months after the administration of 3 doses of mRNA vaccine for primary immunisation.

 

Booster dose for persons who cannot walk (reduced mobility) or who live in a nursing home

People with reduced mobility can be vaccinated by the mobile vaccination team of the Geneva homecare institution (imad), even if they are not regular imad clients. They should speak to their GP who will contact imad to request access to vaccination at home.

For fully vaccinated persons living in nursing homes for elderly people (EMS) or in a residential building with facilities for the elderly (IEPA) or who go to day care centers, vaccination in these premises will be carried out on site by a mobile vaccination team.

 

Necessary documents

Any person falling into one of the categories mentioned below may register on the vaccination platform. Depending on the category, they will have to present various documents during their booster vaccination appointment :

Category Documents to provide
Persons residing in the canton of Geneva (and their children) who have subscribed to a basic health insurance (LAMal regime)

Identity card/passport
+ if applicable, residence permit

+ medical insurance card

 

+ COVID certificate or vaccination booklet

Cross-border commuters (and their children) with basic health insurance (LAMal or other)

Identity card/passport

+ medical insurance card

 

+ COVID certificate or vaccination booklet

Cross-border commuters working in international organisations with expatriate status 

Identity card/passport

+ legitimation card

 

+ COVID certificate or vaccination booklet

Cross-border commuters who work in a Geneva health institution as health professionals and who are not covered by the LAMal insurance scheme

Identity card/passport

+ certificate of employment

Swiss nationals abroad - with or without compulsory health insurance in Switzerland (basic insurance) - and their close family members living in the same household and who are not Swiss nationals (partner, children, parents, parents-in-law)

Identity card/passport

+ if applicable, medical insurance card

+ a signed declaration attesting to their household community

 

+ COVID certificate or vaccination booklet

 


People who aren't eligible for vaccination in the canton of Geneva and who have nevertheless registered on the Geneva vaccination platform will be refused access to the vaccination centre for which they received vaccination appointments.

If you are not eligible for vaccination in the canton of Geneva and you have registered on the Geneva vaccination platform, please contact the COVID-19 Helpline to unsubscribe (by e-mail or phone 0800 909 400 - free call 7/7 - 9am-5pm / dial 0041 800 909 400 from abroad).

 

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Last updated
3 May 2022

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