What is the population of Indians in Switzerland

While the vaccination campaign is in full swing, the focus is on the Indian variant

In Great Britain, the Indian variant endangers further opening steps, in Switzerland its spread is stable at a low level according to the BAG. There is good news for people who have not yet been vaccinated.

Due to the British variant, the Federal Council tightened the measures in winter. He closed restaurants and shops and made strict guidelines in the private sector. Does the Indian variant threaten an increase in the number of cases with all its consequences? Last week, the World Health Organization classified the Indian variant B.1.617 as worrying. Initial studies have shown that the mutation is easier to transmit. The variant has spread quickly, especially in Great Britain. It is therefore now uncertain whether the British government can implement the next opening step on June 21 as planned.

In Switzerland, the situation is currently under control. The number of discovered cases with the Indian variant is still low, said Virginie Masserey from the Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) on Tuesday in front of the media. In addition, there is currently no evidence that the vaccines used in Switzerland against the Indian mutants would not work.

From a scientific point of view, however, there is still little clear evidence. There is still no reliable evidence to quantify the transmission advantage of the Indian variant, said Martin Ackermann, President of the federal scientific advisory group. He could not answer the question of whether the mutation would also have an impact on the easing plan in Switzerland. It remains to be seen whether the variant is more contagious for young people.

If this is the case, this is a reason to follow the spread more intensively, said Ackermann. So far, the researchers have only had guesses as to the reasons for the rapid spread of the variant in Great Britain. According to Ackermann, this can be related to demographics. The British are now accelerating the vaccination campaign in areas where the mutant is spreading particularly quickly.

Apart from that, the epidemic in Switzerland is on the decline. All important numbers are falling. "That is a reason to be happy," said Ackermann.

"The vaccination engine is running"

In Switzerland, 28 percent of the population have now received at least one dose. "The vaccination engine is running," said Kurt Hauri, the chief doctor in the canton. The capacities are still far from exhausted. Switzerland has received 4 million vaccine doses (as of Sunday). 90,000 doses are currently injected every day. In most cantons, vaccination appointments are now open to all age groups. This could mean that older people are no longer vaccinated as a priority. According to Hauri, this approach is feasible in the current relaxed epidemiological situation.

75 percent of people over 65 have now been vaccinated at least once. A certain saturation can now be observed in this age group, said Masserey. Currently, 20 percent of people under the age of 65 are vaccinated. The BAG expert assumes that 12 to 15-year-olds will be able to vaccinate themselves from this summer. According to surveys, the willingness to vaccinate is still high in the entire population. With a new campaign under the motto “One heart for all of us”, the federal government wants to ensure that it stays that way. Meanwhile, the cantons are already busy organizing a possible third booster vaccination. According to the BAG, it is still open whether this will be necessary.

Non-vaccinated people also benefit

As the vaccination campaign progresses, the infection rate shifts to those who have not been vaccinated. Still, there is good news for this group. According to Ackermann, data from Great Britain, Israel and Switzerland show that the higher the vaccination rate, the lower the risk of infection, even for people without vaccination protection. "Towards summer it becomes easier and easier to protect people from infection before they are vaccinated," said Ackermann. Therefore, cautious easing steps are increasingly possible without increasing the risk of the non-vaccinated.

Even those who are fully vaccinated must still wear a mask in shops, public transport and other public spaces, even though they no longer transmit the virus. In practice, one cannot distinguish between vaccinated and non-vaccinated people, said Masserey.