French-speaking Switzerland – Third dose and restrictions put vaccination under pressure

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Since the beginning of the month, the increase in demand has forced the cantons to ramp up to alleviate the wait.

In Geneva, those over 50 rushed for booster doses.

Arnd Wiegmann / Reuters

At the end of November, in Geneva, it was still possible to get a vaccination appointment in less than 24 hours depending on the center chosen. Today, you have to wait ten days if you want to be administered a dose at a fixed time. The most impatient can go directly to a center, but at their own risk. “For his third dose, without an appointment, my father waited three hours,” testifies a Genevan.

At the end of the lake, after weeks of virtual standstill, the vaccination campaign has started again on the hats of wheels. “We have already administered 39,000 reminders”, welcomes Laurent Paoliello, spokesperson for the Department of Health, who points out that 33,000 other appointments have already been set and that 34,000 people are waiting for one. “There is a very strong demand for people 50 and over since the dose booster is opened to them.”

Strong demand

A situation that goes far beyond Versoix. In the canton of Jura, Julien Hostettler, coordinator of the Covid unit, confirms, with regard to the third dose, “a very significant demand from the outset”. Today, 1,200 Jurassians are on standby, even though the capacity has increased from 700 to 1,500 bites per week. The rhythm having accelerated, they are gradually called back to proceed with the injection.

Between the authorization of the third dose, the resurgence of the pandemic and hardening conditions in other countries (see box), demand exploded or at least increased significantly, while the device was idling. As in Geneva, in Vaud, the situation differs from one center to another. Availability ranges from now, in many pharmacies, to the end of January.

Increased capacities

In the canton of Neuchâtel, it is possible “to obtain an appointment extremely quickly in the cantonal vaccination center at Polyexpo, in La Chaux-de-Fonds, open to the entire Neuchâtel population, and whose capacities are sufficient” , informs the Orccan communication unit. If you want to get vaccinated elsewhere, you have to wait, sometimes several weeks, according to testimony.

Like the Jura, which will increase the number of weekly places to 2,500 from next week thanks to the army, the cantons are reorganizing their system. Vaud will go from 8,000 to 12,000 daily bites in 15 days with the help of civil protection. In Geneva and Neuchâtel, the capacities will follow the demand, it is assured, while specifying that the doses are not lacking. In the meantime, the impatient will have to agree to be vaccinated a little further from home, if they want to hurry.

From December 15 for those over 65 and from January 15 for the rest of the population, in France, the health certificate will no longer be valid without a third dose seven months after a complete vaccination. For tourists who have not managed to get bitten three times given the waiting times in Switzerland, this means no restaurants or shopping, or skiing.

In Germany, since December 5, unvaccinated people must quarantine for ten days. In our German-speaking neighbors, only people who have been vaccinated or who have been cured can go to restaurants, places of leisure or shopping. This is also the case in Italy. In Kosovo, from January 3, it will be necessary to be vaccinated to enter the territory.

At a time when the fifth wave has not yet ebbed, the conditions of entry and stay in some countries are likely to change overnight.

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