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Swiss to Keep COVID Shots Free in 2023

ZURICH (Reuters) – Switzerland will again offer COVID-19 vaccinations for free next year, the government said on Friday, describing them as a key element in fighting the pandemic.

“In the coming year, recommended COVID-19 vaccinations will therefore also be reimbursed by the federal government if they are not covered by compulsory health insurance. This includes in particular vaccinations in pharmacies,” the cabinet said.

It also agreed to provide up to 13 million doses of excess shots to other countries.

Wealthy Switzerland has a policy or ordering more vaccines than it needs for its population of 8.7 million, meaning it has destroyed millions of doses after they reached their expiry date.

Just under 70% of the population has had at least one shot in Switzerland and tiny neighbour Liechtenstein, which is low compared to vaccination rates in many other Western European countries.

Authorities have reported nearly 4.4 million COVID infections and nearly 13,900 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Noele Illien nd Nick Macfie)

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