Every year, Switzerland has a nationwide flu vaccination programme ahead of the winter season. The best time to get vaccinated is between mid-March and mid-November.
The vaccination programme started on 23 October and will run until 9 November 2018. This year is the first with vaccinations offered simultaneously in doctor’s surgeries and pharmacies.
Last flu season an estimated 331,000 people came down with the illness, according to government figures.
The programme organiser recommends anyone over 6 months old get the vaccination, particularly people at risk, such as those with chronique illness. Healthy people in contact with such people are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated too. Healthy people wanting to reduce the likelihood of getting the flu are also encouraged.
On 9 November 2018, national vaccination day, vaccinations are possible without an appointment at a reduced cost, typically CHF 30, substantially lower than the usual price of around CHF 65. This service is available in doctor’s surgeries and at pharmacies.
When it gets cold we spend more time inside with others with the windows closed. Flu season is driven by this and lower temperatures, which increase virus survival rates.
The common cold, flu’s less severe cousin, is commonly believed to be triggered by catching a chill. This is untrue. Colds are caused by viruses, some of which survive better in the cold. The best way to avoid getting one is regular hand washing and caring for your immune system by eating well, exercising, sleeping enough and managing stress.
Switzerland’s vaccination programme is organised by the Association of front line doctors.