On 3 November 2021, the Swiss government added some upgrades to Swiss Covid certificates that expand the ways they can be obtained and their validity when used in Switzerland.
The changes will only be valid in Switzerland and come into effect on 16 November 2021.
Validity extension for the recovered
Those who have a PCR test that proves they have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus can now get a Covid certificate lasting 12 months from the date of the test. Currently, these certificates only last 180 days. Current data show that people who have recovered from the disease have a high enough level of protection against severe forms of the disease to warrant extending the validity of these certificates to 12 months. However, the authorities continue to recommend this group get vaccinated once from 4 weeks after infection. Outside Switzerland these certificates will continue to have a validity of 180 days.
90-day certificates for those with positive antibody tests
A positive blood antibody test is proof that someone has had the disease and developed a form of immunity, said Virginie Masserey, head of infectious disease control at the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). However it is not clear how long this immunity lasts. These certificates will be valid for 90 days from the date of the test. It will be possible to repeat the test after a certificate has expired and get a new one lasting 90 days. These tests will not be free and the certificates will not be valid outside Switzerland.
Medical exemption certificates
A small number of people will qualify for medical exemptions on the grounds that they have medical reasons preventing vaccination or testing. From the middle of December these people will qualify for Covid certificates valid for 12 months.
Free tests for the partially vaccinated
Those receiving their first dose of vaccine will have access to free tests for up to 6 weeks until they receive their second dose. The federal government will reduce the reimbursable amount to CHF 36 per antigen test, down from CHF 47. After 6 weeks tests will be fully chargeable.
30-day certificates for more tourists
The types of vaccines accepted for 30-day Swiss tourist Covid certificates will be extended to include all vaccines approved by the World Health Organisation. This will add the Sinovac, Sinopharm and Covaxin vaccines to the list in addition to the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson&Johnson vaccines already approved in Switzerland.
Nasel swab antigen tests will no longer be valid because of their unreliability. They produce too many false negatives, according to the authorities. Going forward only nasopharyngeal swab antigen tests will be valid for obtaining Covid certificates.
Third vaccine doses will be free
Third doses of vaccine will be free. Currently, these are aimed at the vulnerable.