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HEALTH

Switzerland considers selling millions of AstraZeneca vaccine doses

Switzerland is currently investigating selling on the 5.3 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine it agreed to purchase. Switzerland declined to approve the vaccine in February.

Switzerland considers selling millions of AstraZeneca vaccine doses
Photo: THOMAS KIENZLE / AFP

The Swiss government wants to sell the 5.3 million doses it had already paid for, according to an article in NZZ am Sonntag.

“We are currently considering selling on the material” said Nora Kronig, deputy director of the Federal Office of Public Health.

READ MORE: Switzerland declines to approve AstraZeneca vaccine 

NZZ claims the decision was made because “AstraZeneca's vaccine has a bad reputation”.

“In the current situation, Switzerland is not dependent on the the vaccines from AstraZeneca”, said Kronig. 

Originally, the AstraZeneca vaccine was expected to make up around one seventh of the total vaccine doses in Switzerland’s entire vaccine drive. 

ANALYSIS: Will Switzerland's rejection of the AstraZeneca vaccine delay vaccinations? 

However, at the beginning of February, the regulatory agency Swissmedic said  that “the data currently available do not point to a positive decision regarding benefits and risks” of this vaccine. 

Vaccines from four other manufacturers have been approved for use in Switzerland. They are Pfizer/BioNtech, Moderna, Curevac , and Novavax. 

So far only two vaccines have been administered in Switzerland: those from Pfizer/BioNtech and Moderna. 

There have so far been no indications as to who would be the likely recipient of the 5.3 million doses, or under what circumstances and conditions the sale would be made. 

 

 

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HEALTH

How difficult is it to change your doctor in Switzerland?

If you already have a GP doctor in Switzerland but, for some reason, need or want to switch, how easy is it to do so?

How difficult is it to change your doctor in Switzerland?

There are a number of reasons why you may want to leave your GP and find a new one.

Maybe you don’t like their bedside manner, are not happy with the medical care, or are simply moving away and need to find someone closer to your new home.

Whatever the reason, whether or not you can easily switch from one doctor to another depends on the kind of health insurance you have.

Different models, different rights

If you have the ‘standard’ — and typically the most expensive — type of the obligatory health insurance (KVG / LaMal), then you are free to switch your GPs at will, and you don’t have to inform the insurance carrier of the switch.

However, if you have opted for one of the cheaper insurance models, then your right to switch doctors may be limited:

Family doctor model’

It is the most popular in Switzerland (and 20 percent cheaper than standard insurance policy premiums).

Under this model, you have a family doctor who will manage your care — that is, treat you or send you to specialists if needed (with the exception of gynecologists and eye doctors, who don’t require a referral).

You can’t, however, change doctors at will, unless your insurance company approves the switch.

Telemedicine model

If you have opted for the Telemed formula, you must call a health hotline set up by your insurance company.

They will give you a referral to a doctor or hospital based on your symptoms.
 
Heath Maintainance Organisation (HMO)

Under this model, policyholders are required to consult a particular HMO practice. Two disadvantages of this alternative is a limited choice of doctors and you also need a referral to see a specialist.

So the only option that gives you the right to switch doctors with no hassle is the standard one, with the family doctor model also possibly allowing you to do so, under certain circumstances.

The way Telmed and HMO are set up, however, switching doctors is not possible. If that option is important to you, then you will have to switch to the (more expensive) standard insurance.

The only exception to the above restrictions are emergencies, when you need urgent medical treatment.

Assuming you have the standard model, how do you go about changing?

The process is pretty simple: you can find physicians in your area either through recommendations from people you know (which is the best way to ensure you will not be getting an ‘anonymous’ doctor) or, if no recommendations are available, then through the OneDoc platform, which lists which doctors are taking new patients and where.

You can then make an appointment directly online.

When you do so, ask your current physician’s office to transfer your file to the new doc.

You don’t need to explain the reasons for the switch.
 
READ ALSO: The essential Swiss websites you need to use for health matters 
 

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