Getting vaccinated against COVID-19

1. Overview

During its session of 16th February 2022, the Federal Council decided to lift nearly all protective measures, given the easing of the epidemiological situation. Nevertheless, the virus continues to circulate and the vaccine continues to protect against severe forms of the disease, especially for vulnerable persons.

In Geneva, the vaccination system remains operational for all persons who wish to be vaccinated, as of the age of 5 years. Depending on the evolution of the epidemiological situation, it will be adapted to the needs of the population.

Vaccination continues to give access to the COVID-19 certificate, which may be necessary to travel abroad.

 

You will find on the Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 web pages, all information concerning vaccination against COVID-19 in the canton of Geneva :
 

Important communications

The booster dose is available for all the population aged 12+.
Registration online on the platform or call the COVID-19 Green Line (0800 909 400).

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. 


Since 4 January, vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 years is possible. Registration online. The parent accompanying the child will have to show his/her identity card as well as that of the child.


The Janssen vaccine (Johnson & Johnson) in the primary vaccination scheme and the booster scheme is administered to people who live in the canton at the HUG (Geneva University Hospitals) vaccination centre on Wednesday mornings, by appointment through the vaccination registration platform online


 Persons eligible for vaccination in Geneva, who received their first dose of vaccine abroad, can receive their second dose or their booster dose in Geneva as long as their vaccine is recognised in Switzerland and they have proof of vaccination. They can submit a request by e-mail


Since September 14, 2021, pregnant women no longer need to present a medical certificate, nor their written consent to be vaccinated. Since May 28, 2021, the FOPH recommends mRNA vaccination, starting in the second trimester, for all pregnant women. Vaccination is also recommended for breastfeeding women as well as women who are planning a pregnancy.

 

 

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2. Why get vaccinated against COVID-19?

Getting vaccinated implies not only protecting yourself, but also protecting the most vulnerable population groups to whom you could transmit the disease.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is recommended by the federal and cantonal health authorities for three reasons:

  1. It protects vulnerable people and reduces the number of seriously ill patients and deaths related to COVID-19.
  2. It will lead to fewer hospitalisations and ensure the maintenance of a properly functioning health care system for everyone.
  3. It will support the effort to address the negative social and economic consequences of this pandemic.

Coronavirus infection (SARS-Cov-2) most often causes a mild form of COVID-19 in adults and children.

However, the disease is often more severe among older people or people with clinical vulnerability criteria (obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart or lung disease, cancer, immunosuppressive disease or treatment...). COVID-19 can lead to complications and require prolonged hospitalisation, sometimes in intensive care. Even for people who are cured, the disease can cause long-term health problems. That is why it is important to get vaccinated. 

The Federal office of public health (FOPH), the federal commission for vaccinations, cantonal doctors, Swiss society groups of doctors and specialists recommend that you get vaccinated. Do not hesitate to discuss this matter with your general practitioner. 

 

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Do you have a question regarding vaccination?

 

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?
Download flyer

 

 

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, from a medical point of view, a booster vaccine is therefore not necessary.
However, if you need a COVID certificate to travel for example, it is possible to have a booster vaccination. 

 

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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Do you have a question regarding vaccination?

 

4. Registration for vaccination (1st, 2nd and booster dose)

Inscription vaccination
Inscription vaccination
Click here to register onlinefor COVID vaccination


Before starting your online registration, please consult the leaflet Vaccination scheme and read the instructions listed below.

1) Before registering  

Am I eligible for vaccination in Geneva?

Vaccination in Geneva is possible for the following groups : Geneva residents; cross-border workers (and their children) with LAMal insurance; cross-border workers working in Geneva in the health sector; civil servants/international workers or expatriate personnel with a legitimation card (and their children), Swiss nationals living abroad and their family members (living under the same roof).

If you are not eligible for vaccination in the canton of Geneva and you have nonetheless 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 - 9h-17h / dial 0041 800 909 400 from abroad).

It is not possible for people outside these categories to be vaccinated and to pay for their vaccine.

 

What does one need to register online for COVID-19 vaccination?

Before starting the online registration procedure, you will need the following items  :

  1. Your insurance card (LAMal). The surname, first names and date of birth that you register online must match the surname, first names and date of birth on your insurance card. 
     
  2. computer or tablet (with an internet connexion line) and a mobile phone (yours or that of a relative), which is switched on, which can receive text messages and is available at hand during the registration process.

    - This mobile phone will be used to check and validate the information transmitted during the online registration: after entering your mobile phone number, you will receive a code to be filled in in order to finalise the registration as well as an SMS message confirming the place and time of the first vaccination appointment, or a message informing you that you - or, if applicable, the person whose name you are registering - are on a waiting list. If the mobile phone number is not filled in, people who register will be contacted again and, if not, they will receive an email.

    - If you do not provide a mobile phone number, you should include an email address in order to receive a confirmation of registration and appointment by email.

    It not advisable to register online using the mobile phone intended to receive the validation code, because if you leave the online registration website to retrieve this code, you risk losing all the data already entered on the registration website.

Guide - How to register online for the primary vaccination scheme?

  • Registration will begin with a health questionnaire. You will need to answer all the questions, even though some may not directly concern you.
     
  • You have the possibility to register yourself or someone you are close to. If you aren't registering yourself but a relative or friend and if you are using your own mobile phone for this purpose, please make sure that you tick the box « utiliser le téléphone d’un tiers ou d’un proche ». (i.e.: "use the phone of a third party or relative"). This will prevent you from being blocked later on, if you decide to do your own online registration for the vaccination.
     

IMPORTANT

  • During your registration, you will receive a first SMS (or email message if no mobile phone number is given) which contains a "verification code " (a six digit code).

  • This "verification code" is not a confirmation that you are registered. You have not yet finished registering. Please confirm your registration by typing in this 6-digit code in your application form in the window wjhich appears on your computer screen requesting it.

  •  Towards the end of your registration, you will be asked whether you accept the general terms and conditions for the use of this tool.

  • At the end of the registration, you will receive a second SMS (or email if no mobile phone number is given) confirming your registration is finished and that you are in the data base.

  • You will shortly receive a third SMS with details for an appointment. The vaccination appointment sms or email  will include a link allowing you to reschedule or cancel a appointment if necessary.
     
  • Upon receipt this first appointment for the vaccination, you will automatically receive a second appointment for the second dose which will be administered 28 days later.
     
The one.doc vaccination platform currently offers the option of whether or not to register your data in the Swiss mesvaccins.ch database, and thus to have your vaccination listed in an electronic vaccination record. However, since 24 August 2021, this site has definitely ceased its operational activites, following a decision by the Confederation. 
For more information: myCOVIDvac

 

Guide - How to register online for the booster vaccination scheme?

It is possible to make an appointment via the COVID-19 Helpline (0800 909 400) or by registering directly on the vaccination platform to make an appointment via the direct booking system, which allows you to choose the time slot.

The process for registering for the booster dose online is similar to the process for registering for the first vaccine dose. It uses the same registration platform You just have to click on "I am already fully vaccinated" to access the correct registration form.

As with your first registration (1st dose), you will receive a first text message with a 6-digit number that you will need to enter in the online registration form to confirm your registration. You will then receive a second text message with the confirmation of your booster appointment.


To register online for the booster dose, you will need:

  • your health insurance card
  • a computer with internet connection
  • a mobile phone (yours or a relative's to receive two sms: 1st sms = 6-digit code / 2nd sms = confirmation of vaccination appointment) 
  • your vaccination certificate with the date of the last vaccination dose and the type of mRNA vaccine received (either Pfizer/BioNTech Comirnaty® vaccine or Moderna Spikevax® vaccine)
If you do not have a mobile phone, you can contact COVID-19 Helpline (0800 909 400 - free call 7/7 - 9h-17h) to register.


Registration process - What to do on the registration platform?

Click on "I want a booster dose" to access the correct form. You will then have to fill in a series of pages:

  • General questions (date of birth, gender)
  • General questions about your health
  • Questions about your vaccination status (date of last dose, type of vaccine, number of doses, reactions to the vaccine) 
If you have been vaccinated for less than 6 months, you can still register and you will receive a notification of your vaccination appointment later.

 

  • Field to be filled in regarding your health insurance
  • Field to be filled in regarding your address
  • Information about the documents you will need to bring to your vaccination
  • Field to be filled in regarding your mobile phone number: by clicking on "check my number", you will receive an SMS with a 6-digit code. You have to copy this 6-digit code to the computer. 
  • You can then choose your own vaccination time slot, since with the direct booking system, you have access to the schedule of the vaccination centre. You can change this time slot if necessary.
  • Once you have confirmed your choice, you will  receive very shortly a second SMS with the confirmation of the appointment (date and place of the booster dose).
  • Once you have received this second SMS, you can change your appointment if necessary by contacting the vaccination centre directly or by calling COVID-19 Helpline (0800 909 400).

Further tips to manage your online registration

  • To ensure that the registration process works properly, it is recommended that you test several updated web browsers. The quality of access to the registration platform may also vary, depending on the type of computer or tablet used.

 

Certificates for priority vaccination

  • The priority vaccination certificates , which were required for highly vulnerable people are no longer necessary.
  • Work certificates are still required for cross-border workers in the health field in Geneva, and who haven't subscribed a LAMal insurance.

 

Assistance for people unfamiliar with IT tools or with the French language, who are isolated or who lack equipment to register

Perons, wishing to register, but who are elderly, isolated and/or foreign-speaking may or who don't have a mobile phone, computer and internet connexion, and who cannot ask for help from a third person or a relative who is equipped, may: 

  • Seek assistance with the COVID-19 Helpline 0800 909 400  (free of charge - 7days/7- 9h-17h) for assistance. 
  •  Seek assistance with the Geneva Red Cross provide assistance with their online registration.
 
Assistance de la Croix-Rouge genevoise pour l'inscription
Assistance de la Croix-Rouge genevoise pour l'inscription

Registration sessions at the Red Cross
Centre for Cultural Integration

50, rue de Carouge
Monday to Friday: 9.30-11.45am and 2-5pm
1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month: 5pm-7.30pm

The Geneva Red Cross helps all elderly, isolated and/or vulnerable people, who lack computer skills or who have difficulties in understanding the French language, in their efforts to register online and to be vaccinated:

  • Registration for vaccination on the Internet
  • Managing the follow-up of appointments (first and second dose)
  • Possible escort to the vaccination appointment

 

Beware of attempted frauds during registration

Please note that the confirmation SMS you receive for your vaccination registration or appointment is sent by a mobile number which is only used to generate registration or appointment confirmations.  You should never reply to this sms message by calling the number or returning an sms.

In case of doubt, or in case of attempted fraud, please contact immediately the COVID-19 Helpline 0800 909 400  (free of charge - 7days/- 9h-17h) for assistance.

  

 

2) After registration

While waiting for your booster shot or primary vaccination, what to do if you catch COVID-19?

After you have registered on the vaccination platform, you may have caught the disease. In this case, if you have not yet received your vaccination appointments (SMS) or if you have already received them, please contact the COVID-19 Green Line (0800 909 400 - free call 7/7 - 9h-17h) so that they can cancel your registration or reschedule your appointments within the recommended timeframe.

 

Changing vaccination venue / rescheduling an appointment

You may change the date or time of appointment by contacting the centre directly to see if another appointment might be available. For this, please activate the link you have received by SMS to obtain the vaccination centre's contact details.

 

What documents should one bring at one's vaccination appointment?

At the first appointment at the vaccination centre, the following documents must be presented:

  1. Identity card + (if applicable) residence permit.
  2. LAMal medical insurance card (or legitimation card for people with expatriate status).
  3. For booster vaccination: your primary vaccination certificate.
  • For health professionals who are cross-border workers and who don't have LAMal medical insurance: a certificate of employment will also be requested.
  • For Swiss nationals living abroad and  their families, a signed declaration certifying they all live under the room will be necessary.

Without these documents, it will not be possible to access the centre for COVID-19 vaccination.
 

Important - Vaccination of children
The parent accompanying the child must present their identity card as well as that of the child.

 

COVID certificates

How to obtain a certificate if you have been vaccinated in the canton of Geneva?
How to obtain a certificate if you have been vaccinated abroad?
Which foreign certificates are recognised in Switzerland?
 

Consult the answers to these questions in the "COVID certificate for vaccinated persons".
 

 

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Do you have a question regarding vaccination?

 

6. Vaccination centres against COVID-19

Consult the SITG map system to see the vaccination centres currently in operation in the canton of Geneva.
For optimal access to the SITG map, it is recommended to use a recent browser. 

Direct booking
The "direct booking" system enables people registering online to access directly the agenda of the vaccination centers and to choose appointment date and time.

HUG-Centre de vaccination COVID-19
As of 12 years

Vaccines: Pfizer or Moderna

Janssen vaccine on Wednesdays

HUG Centre de vaccination pédiatrique COVID-19
5-11 years

Vaccine : Pfizer and Janssen

Registration online via direct booking 

Rue Gabrielle-Perret-Gentil 4

1205 Genève

Direct access from outside, behind the Morier building 
(next to COVID testing sector E)

Registration online via direct booking 

Rue Gabrielle-Perret-Gentil 4

1205 Genève

Direct access from outside, behind the Morier building 
(next to COVID testing sector E)

Vaccination: 

  • By registration only 
    Mon-Fri | 9h-16h30

    ​​​​​​​The centre is closed: 
    • Thursday 26 May 
    • Monday 6 June 

Vaccination:

  • By registration only
    Wed / 12h45-16h45
    Vaccination for children only on Wednesday afternoons

    ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The centre is closed: 
    • Thursday 26 May 
    • Monday 6 June 

TPG

Bus 1: «Hôpital» or «Roseraie» stop
Bus 3-5: «Place Claparède» stop
Léman Express: «Champel» stop
 

Car
Underground pay-per-use parking («Lombard»):
follow "Hospital" direction

TPG

Bus 1: «Hôpital» or «Roseraie» stop
Bus 3-5: «Place Claparède» stop
Léman Express: «Champel» stop
 

Car
Underground pay-per-use parking («Lombard»):
follow "Hospital" direction

 

At the first appointment at the vaccination centre, all persons must present their identity card (and, if applicable, their residence permit) and their LAMal insurance card (or, if applicable, their legitimation card for persons with expatriate status). Without these documents, it will not be possible to be vaccinated.

For vaccination of children, the parent accompanying the child will have to show their identity card as well as that of the child.

 

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Do you have a question regarding vaccination?

 

7. Vaccination in Geneva: numbers and campaign

Vaccination numbers

Since the beginning of the vaccination campaign until 23rd June 2022, 966'681 doses have been administered since the beginning of the vaccination campaign to persons residing in Geneva and to border residents.

  • 390'388 persons received their first dose
  • 361'250 persons received their second dose 
  • 211'184 persons received a booster dose (dose 1); 434 received a booster (dose 2)
  • 3'425 persons received an additional dose (immunosuppressed persons) 

Vaccination campaign

The vaccination campaign is now open to all people aged 5 years+.

2022  
April With the shutting down of two centres (PharmaShop and Permanence Médico-Chirurgicale de Plainpalais) at the end of April, only the HUG vaccination centre is currently operational.
March Closing of several sites (Helvetic Care Rive; m3-Joinville; Garde Pédiatrique Lancy; Pharmacie Bleue; Centre médico-chirurgical Vermont; Pharmacie du Mandement; Swiss Medical Center, Permanence Médico-Chirurgicale Chêne-Bourg and the pediatric practices La Planta and Cruzado)
Feb. Downsizing of the vaccination system (Closing of m3 Meyrin and m3 Chêne, Clinique et permanence d'Onex and various vaccination venues in pharmacies) 
22 Jan. End of the Vacci-Road mobile vaccination campaign
5 Jan. Launch of the vaccination campaign for children aged 5 to 11 years old (opening of 5 vaccination sites planned in January)
2021  
24 Dec. Opening until 3 January of the temporary DGS-Chêne (Eaux-Vives) vaccination site for the booster dose to reinforce the vaccination effort during the holiday season. 
21 Dec. Access to the booster dose for all persons vaccinated as of 4 months instead of 6 months (as recommended by the FOPH and the Federal Commission for Vaccinations)
18 Dec. End of the Vacci-Bus tour
13 Dec. Vaccination campaign for the booster dose for the population aged 16-49 years (six months after the last dose)
6 Dec. All vaccination centres offer the booster dose for persons aged 50-64 (six months after the last dose) 
1st Dec. Vaccination campaign for the booster dose for persons aged 50 to 64 years in two vaccination centres (Plainpalais and Chêne-Bourg) (six months after the last dose)
15 Nov. Launch of the Vacci-Bus mobile vaccination campaign (on tour until 18 December on a dozen sites in the canton)
8-14 Nov. National vaccination week
5 Nov.  Vaccination campaign for the booster dose for persons aged 65 years and over
7 Oct.  The Johnson & Johnson's Janssen® vaccine is available in Geneva for residents of the canton.
21 Sept. Opening (until 23rd October) of a walk-in vaccination centre at the Meyrin shoping centre (m3 Sanitrade)
20 Sept. Opening of the vaccination centre of the Permanence Médico-Chirurgicale Rond-Point Plainpalais (initially intended primarily for university students) (vaccination with or without appointment). 
15 Sept  Opening of the vaccination centre of the Medical Centre in Chêne-Bourg CMCB (vaccination with or without appointment).
11 Sept. The CMU-HUG vaccination centre is open at week-ends for walk-in vaccination (until Sunday 3 October included).
End of the vaccination operation in the Pharmacies principales de la Praille and Balexert.
6 Sept. Opening of a new walk-in vaccination centre on the right bank: PHARMAshop open from Tuesday to Saturday.
Launch of the Vacci-road - mobile vaccination team on a weekly tour of shopping centres and other high density locations (UNIGE; HES etc.).
31 July The m3 Sanitrade centre makes available a number of appointment-free vaccination slots for all persons as of 12 years.
End of July Closing of the Palexpo vaccination centre, the Carouge vaccination centre and the La Tour vaccination centre.
17 July

Appointment-free vaccination for adults on Wednesday afternoons and Saturdays at the  Centre commercial de Balexert in collaboration with the Pharmacie Principale group.

 

14 July Appointment-free vaccination for adults on Wednesday afternoons and Saturdays at the  Centre commercial de la Praille in collaboration with the Pharmacie Principale group.
Beginning of July

Closing of the vaccination centre of the Clinique générale Beaulieu, the vaccination centre of the Pharmacie populaire group (rue Carteret) and the vaccination centre in Cologny.

 

18 June Partnership with the FER : companies who are members of the FER may register for vaccination slots made available for their employees.
16 June Opening of registration for young persons aged 12-15 years old. Vaccination sheduled to start on 2nd  July.
14 June  Launch of a pilote vaccination project in a medical centre in Chêne-Bourg:  Centre Médical Opale 
19 May Opening of vaccination to all people in the 16-44 age group.
10 May

Opening of the vaccination centre in Cologny (Clinique Hirslanden-Grangettes) with a potential injection capacity of 4,00 doses per day.

Launch of two pilot projects for registration and vaccination in pharmacies (Pharmacie Bleue in Vésenaz and Pharmacieplus du Mandement in Satigny).

3 May Launch of a project for the co-management by the Pharmacie Populaire group of the COVID-19 vaccination schedule (project intended for vulnerable people aged 65+ for whom computer tools present a technological barrier with regards to their online registration.
19 April Opening of a vaccine site at Palexpo with a potential injection capacity of 4,000 doses per day, which will be managed by the association of Geneva doctors (AMGe) and the association of pharmacy owners of the canton of Geneva (PharmaGeneve)
12 April Opening of the vaccination to 45-54 and 55-64 age groups 
6 April Opening of the vaccination to all health professionals and socio-sanitary categories in contact with patients or vulnerable persons (Group II)
April and May Increase in vaccine deliveries: between 18,000 and 20,000 doses should be supplied each week in Geneva (half Moderna and half Pfizer), making it possible to double the number of vaccinations per week and to gradually extend vaccination to other population groups depending on registration, and then to the entire population
22 March 

Opening of a new vaccination centre on the Hospital de la Tour site

Opening of vaccination to staff and residents in facilities for people with disabilities

17 March People aged 65+ have priority for vaccination registration
23 February Following the delivery of 5,000 doses of vaccine, the vaccination programme in vaccination centres is opened to adults with high vulnerability criteria (who have requested and received a certificate from their general practitioner proving that they have priority access for vaccination against COVID-19) and also, on their workplace, to health workers in contact with high-risk people
25 January  Opening of two new vaccination centres: Clinique Générale Beaulieu and Clinique des Grangettes
20 January  Opening of a vaccination centre at the Geneva University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG)
As of 18 January 2021 Delivery of the third consignment of Pfizer vaccines
People aged 75+ and highly vulnerable adults, regardless of their age, have priority for vaccination registration
15 January  Delivery of the first consignment of Moderna* vaccines
As of 4 January 2021 Delivery of the second consignment of Pfizer vaccines and beginning of the vaccination of people aged 75 years+ in social medical institutions (EMS), in certain units of the HUG and in three vaccination centres (M3 Sanitrade, Clinique et permanence d'Onex, Clinique de Carouge
23 December 2020 Delivery of the first consignment of Pfizer* vaccines and beginning of the vaccination of people aged 75 years+ in a residential home for the elderly (IEPA) (as of December 28th)

 

* Vaccines against COVID-19

In Switzerland, the vaccines currently used in the COVID-19 vaccination campaign are the following:  Pfizer/BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty® and Moderna's Spikevax® (both RNAm vaccines) and the Johnson & Johnson's Janssen® vaccine.

More information (in French) on the vaccines available in Switzerland : www.infovac.ch  and FOSP website.
 

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8. 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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