Covid certification appears to play an increasingly important role in society. Anyone who wants to participate in a big event or travel, for example, should introduce themselves today. In an interview, Christoph Berger, chair of the Federal Commission on Immunization Issues (Ekif), explains the areas in which he supports certification, what critics have to oppose and how he assesses the goal of herd immunity.
Pediatrician and infection doctor
Prof. Christoph Berger is a pediatrician and an infectious doctor at the University Hospital Zurich. He is also the chair of the Federal Vaccination Commission.
SRF News: Do you support making Covid certification mandatory in certain regions?
Christoph Berger: Certification should allow for more freedom and more social activities – I will use it more generously than now. It should remain mandatory for major events. But I can imagine private and smaller organizers expect or promise certification from their guests without it being mandatory. In the end, it gives participants the security that they have a lower risk of infection.
In what areas specifically?
On occasions where you are staying for a long time, drink and eat and therefore you cannot and do not want to wear a mask.
Do you want to make certification mandatory is another question. I think it’s a good thing.
There you will have better protection with a certificate. I can also imagine it in restaurants, museums, theater or at other cultural events. Whether you want to make it mandatory is another question. I think it’s a good thing.
Why should smaller organizers voluntarily demand a Covid certificate – this is how they are likely to lose guests, too?
You have the ability to attract guests. I’d even announce it and say, “You’re taking a little risk by coming to us. We’re applying the terms of testimony.”
The criticism is already clear: the more testimony is requested, the more likely it is to be interpreted as coercion. How do you explain this to people?
I’d like to explain this by saying that you can do more events with certification than without it, and for non-vaccinators, certification just means they have to take a test. This is nothing tragic.
Covid certification means ‘vaccinated, tested or recovered’. Is it the right long-term strategy for grouping these categories together?
This is definitely the right thing for now. And the more people vaccinated, the more and more people became protected. We have the virus and we have the virus with the most contagious delta type that mostly infects the unvaccinated.
In the long run, vaccination is definitely the best protection.
If we have too many cases we have to take more restrictive measures again, and none of us want that. Now it is important to minimize the risks with these 3Gs. But in the long run, vaccination is definitely the best protection.
Does that mean you’ll make a long-term difference between getting tested and vaccinated?
In an event, the case is very clear: whoever is vaccinated protects himself, and whoever is tested is not protected. For me, this is something that needs further evaluation and discussion.
How do you now want to reach people who have not yet been vaccinated?
I hope and expect that vaccination coverage will increase. Returnees who have not been vaccinated can now also be vaccinated. And low-threshold vaccination offers in shopping malls, in employers, in social activities, that’s what I support. Transfer vaccination as a positive experience and motivate others to do so.
Those who have not been vaccinated will most likely catch coronavirus sooner or later and thus be better protected. Is it just a matter of time before we get herd immunity?
It is unlikely that we will achieve herd immunity. I think vaccination provides good protection. Those who have recovered are only protected for a short time and therefore must be vaccinated once. Then they are as well protected as those who have been vaccinated twice.
The delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox, so it is highly contagious.
This is an important point. The delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox, so it is highly contagious. It will mainly affect those who have not been vaccinated, and it will happen in the fall.
Interviewed by Benya Silberschmidt.
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