Vaccination strategy: Who can get vaccinated?

The primary objective of vaccination against COVID-19 is to protect people who are at especially high risk and thereby prevent serious illnesses and deaths. The second objective is to reduce the burden on hospitals and care homes and ensure that the health system continues to function properly. The third, and last, objective is to reduce the negative consequences of the pandemic and stem the spread of the virus.

Recommendations for children and adolescents

The vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are approved for persons aged 12 and over.
The vaccination is recommended for all young people aged 12 and over. The vaccine protects against frequent mild and very rare severe cases of COVID-19. It also helps to avoid the negative consequences of protective measures (e.g. isolation/quarantine) and the consequences of frequent exposure (e.g. at school or in leisure time).
The recommendation applies in particular to

  • adolescents with a chronic illness
  • adolescents who are close contacts (e.g. household members) of people at especially high risk, particularly of people with a weakened immune system
  • adolescents living in communal facilities where there is a higher risk of infection and outbreaks of the disease.

Young people should talk to their parents or someone they trust to weigh up whether vaccination is a good idea for them (risk-benefit analysis). The individual benefits of vaccination should outweigh the risks. They also need to decide whether to get vaccinated now or wait until later.

Further information about vaccinating young people is also provided in the fact sheet for young people and in the FAQ.

Recommendations for pregnant women

Vaccination against COVID-19 with an mRNA vaccine authorised in Switzerland is now recommended for all women before and during pregnancy (from the 13th week of pregnancy) and during breastfeeding. Women who are trying for a baby should get vaccinated as soon as possible. Women who are already pregnant and have not yet been vaccinated are advised to get a jab from 12 weeks of pregnancy (i.e. from the 2nd trimester). The benefits of vaccination during pregnancy significantly outweigh the potential risks. Written consent is no longer required from the pregnant woman, neither is a medical certificate/prescription. In principle, vaccination is also possible at an earlier stage of pregnancy.

Vaccination before and during pregnancy protects both mother and unborn child. Pregnant women are much more likely to suffer severe symptoms of COVID-19 than their non-pregnant peers. The risk of premature birth is also significantly higher if they are infected with coronavirus during pregnancy.

There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines adversely affect fertility in men or women. If you still have unanswered questions, talk to your doctor, gynaecologist or midwife at your next routine check-up or consultation.

Recommendations for people recovered from COVID-19

Vaccination is recommended within three months of infection for people who can prove by means of a PCR or rapid antigen test that they have been infected with COVID-19. According to the latest studies, vaccination provides better protection against a new infection than recovering from the disease. People who have recovered only receive one dose of vaccine, as the infection has the same effect on the immune system as the first dose of vaccine. This means that after an infection, one dose is sufficient to boost and extend protection.

The three months are a recommendation. In general a person can be vaccinated as soon as they are free of symptoms. For one dose to be sufficient, however, it is recommended to wait 4 weeks after the infection before having the vaccination. This vaccination regimen for people who have had the disease also applies if the infection took place between the first and second doses of vaccine.

Exceptions

  • People at especially high risk should be vaccinated three months after the illness, likewise with only one dose of vaccine.
  • People at especially high risk with a weakened immune system should be vaccinated after three months. They receive two doses of vaccine at an interval of around four weeks.

An antibody test should not be done and is explicitly not recommended. This is because an antibody test gives no indication of how long someone is immune after a confirmed infection.

This Swiss Vaccination Strategy, the vaccination objectives and the prioritisation of the target groups are all based on the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO). They do not differ significantly from the vaccination strategies of other countries, for example France, Austria, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.