On 23 December 2020, a 90-year old resident of Luzern, was the first person in Switzerland to be vaccinated against Covid-19. In the roughly 5 months since then, more than 3 million people in Switzerland have received at least one dose of vaccine, representing around 36% of the population.
By 1 June 2021, 1.75 million (20% of the population) were fully vaccinated and a further 1.32 million (15% of the population) were partially vaccinated, according to Switzerland’s Federal Public Office of Health (FOPH).
In three months Switzerland has gone from having 6% to 36% of the population at least partially vaccinated. This percentage differs little between cantons.
By 1 June 2021, Basel-City (40%), Geneva (39%) and Ticino (39%) led the way, with Basel-Landschaft (38%), Bern (38%), Schaffhausen (37%), Zug (36%) and Vaud (36%) not far behind. The canton with the lowest rate was Fribourg (31%). Other cantons like Luzern (35%), Zurich (34%) and Valais (33%) were somewhere in between.
However, in Europe, Switzerland continues to trail many other nations. The EU average for one or more doses is 39% of the population. Nations such as the UK (58%), Hungary (54%), Germany (44%) and Belgium (40%) are above the EU average. Austria (39%), Spain (39%), Italy (38%) and France (38%) are all close to the EU average and all ahead of Switzerland – data here.
At the same time, Switzerland is well ahead of the world average (11%) and nations like New Zealand (9%), the Philippines (4%) and Vietnam (1%).
At the end of January 2021, Nora Kronig, the head of vaccinations at FOPH, said she expected all those who want to be vaccinated in Switzerland to have had the chance by the end of June 2021. That target now seems ambitious, given that less than half of Switzerland’s 7.1 million adults have been vaccinated. There is some vaccine hesitancy in Switzerland, however many are still awaiting a chance to get a shot.
In April 2021, Alain Berset, Switzerland’s minister of health, said he thought vaccinating 80% of the population would be required to stop the virus from circulating.
In Brazil, intensive vaccination was trialed in Serrano, a town of 45,000. Scientists estimate that the spread of the virus came under control after 75% of the population received the second dose, according to Brazilian news reports. At the current rate of vaccination, Switzerland could reach this percentage of at least partially vaccinated people by the end of August 2021.
So far Switzerland has used only the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. In a recent interview Switzerland’s health minister said that we are one of the rare nations that has been able to vaccinate everyone with the best vaccines available, those with 95% effectiveness.