Vaccination is the administration of a weakened form of a germ or parts thereof to a healthy body.


Vaccination is the administration of a weakened form of a germ or parts thereof to a healthy body. This helps the immune system to develop protection from a disease without contracting the disease itself. The vaccinated person as well as all persons with weakened immune systems in their community are protected from future contagion (herd immunity).


In most cases, vaccinations are well tolerated. However, sometimes the required activation of the immune system can trigger the following symptoms:

Vaccine reaction
  • Within 72 hours of the vaccination
  • Injection site turns red, swells and becomes painful
  • Fever < 39.5°C
  • Feeling of being unwell (e.g. headaches, tiredness, nausea, etc.)
Disease from vaccination
  • 1 – 4 weeks after vaccination
  • Only with live vaccines (living but weakened form of the germ)
  • Weakened form of the disease against which the patient was vaccinated (e.g. slight rash after a measles vaccination)
Vaccination complications
  • Vaccination was administered incorrectly (e.g. injected into fatty tissue instead of muscle, which can lead to infection)
  • Allergic reaction to vaccination ingredients (e.g. egg protein)
Vaccine damage
  • Very rare, connection between vaccination and damage has not been fully explained
  • e.g. Guillain-Barré syndrome (temporary paralysis)

Causes and treatment

Objectives of vaccination

  • Protection from future contagion
  • Protection from contagion for persons with weakened immune systems (older people, the chronically ill, cancer patients, persons who have donated an organ, etc.)
    • A vaccinated person can no longer spread the disease

Types of vaccinations

Active vaccination: Your own immune system produces antibodies

  • Live vaccine: A live but weakened form of the germ is administered
    • Very effective vaccination
    • Higher rate of complications
    • Cannot be given to pregnant women
  • Killed (destroyed) vaccine: These vaccines use the killed version of the germ or parts thereof
    • Slightly less effective than live vaccines
    • Very low complication rate
    • Can be given to pregnant women

Passive vaccination: Existing antibodies are injected into the blood

  • Immediate protection
  • Only temporary as the body breaks down the foreign antibodies

Swiss Vaccination Schedule

Basic vaccinations recommended

Supplementary vaccinations

What can I do myself?

  • Regular monitoring of vaccination card to see if booster shots are needed
    • Vaccination card can also be given to the doctor to study

When to see a doctor?

  • Complications after a vaccination, in particular

Further information

Federal Office of Public Health (Bundesamt für Gesundheit)

Informationsplattform für Impffragen (Vaccination Information Platform)

Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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