The Kohlfirst retirement home in Zurich’s Weinland has a long term aim to ensure that all employees are vaccinated against Covid-19, according to SRF.
Pressure to be vaccinated is being applied in numerous ways, such as greater testing of those who are unvaccinated and preferential access to outside training courses for those already vaccinated.
The staff vaccination rate is now around 70%. But some staff have started to push back with complaints of discrimination and questions regarding legality.
However, the nursing home sees no validity in these discrimination claims. Instead it believes it has an obligation to protect staff and residents. According to management the virus was rampant in the nursing home at the end of 2020. Around half a dozen employees continue to suffer long-term symptoms, with one person still unable to work, and 15 residents have died from the disease. “This is not discrimination. It’s about protection and freedom”, said Markus Späth, President Kohlfirst Association.
Curaviva, a nursing home industry association, prefers to remain on the sideline, opting to emphasise voluntariness. “Distinguishing between those who have been vaccinated and those who have not been vaccinated is a very sensitive ethical question”, said Daniel Höchli, the head of Curaviva Switzerland.
Swiss law offers little guidance and is largely silent on the issue, according to legal expert Roger Rudolph. While the law is clear that no one can be physically forced to be vaccinated, the question of whether an employer can withhold privileges or ultimately terminate an employment contract is less clear.
SRF article (in German)