In Switzerland, 20% of people over 80 have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 at a time when the fast spreading Delta variant is gaining ground, said Alain Berset, Switzerland’s health minister, in an interview with the NZZ reported RTS.
Berset said he’s concerned that too many people do not want to get vaccinated. But in rest homes we have a worse problem, he said. A considerable portion of staff working in rest homes or offering home care are refusing to be vaccinated. This is putting old people at risk and should no be allowed, said the minister.
Over the last few months not everything has gone well. Some well organised rest homes have recorded no Covid-19 cases, while in others, close to half of residents have died, he said.
The minister is calling for something to be done. If rest home staff refuse vaccination they should at least be required to take a test once a week, argued the minister. Anything else would be irresponsible.
SSP, a heath sector union, is opposed to rules that would make Covid-19 vaccinations a requirement to work in the sector.
The federal government plans to discuss the situation with rest home management and Spitex, a rest home association. We must avoid a new wave of infections in rest homes at any cost, said Berset.
Vaccines are not 100% effective, so some rest home residents with poor health or compromised immune systems, will remain at risk despite vaccination.
Italy has already made Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for health sector staff and governments in other nations are considering a similar move. At a press conference in Bern, Virginie Masserey, head of infectious disease control at the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), said that such a move would be legally possible in Switzerland.
Overall, the number of daily vaccinations in Switzerland has been falling since around mid-June 2021. By 4 July 2021, 38% of Switzerland’s population was fully vaccinated and 51% fully or partially vaccinated. Some experts warn that the current level of vaccination in Switzerland is too low to bring the virus under control.