Switzerland has, so far, fully vaccinated over 58% of its population, giving it one of the lowest inoculation rates in Western Europe, pushing the government to seek ways of boosting take-up among those who have not yet received a Covid jab.
Announcing the new scheme on Friday, the Swiss government stated that “everyone can help to convince a friend, neighbor, work colleague or family member of the benefits of vaccination,” adding that “cooperation of the population should be rewarded.”
Individuals who receive a Covid vaccine going forward will be asked to list one person who urged them to come forward and get jabbed. The named individual will then receive a gift certificate worth 50 Swiss francs ($53.68) that can be used in cinemas, restaurants and other areas, as designated by local authorities.
Swiss officials stated that the new approach was required as, while Covid cases are on the decline, there is still concern about the situation in intensive care units, exacerbated by the number of people who are not yet vaccinated.
The government scheme will see officials set aside 150 million francs ($161.59 million) for the gift certificate offer, as well as setting up a national vaccination week and 170 mobile vaccination hubs around the country. It comes as nations, including Switzerland, prepare for the winter months, where infections are expected to rise due to the colder weather, risking increased stress on medical services if unvaccinated or non-immune individuals are infected.
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