What foreign residents in Catalonia need to know about getting the Covid vaccine

Man getting vaccinated in Catalonia
Josep LAGO / AFP
Catalonia's public health secretary Josep Maria Argimon has said that everybody in Catalonia is entitled to receive the vaccine, regardless of nationality and migration status. Here's everything we know so far about how the Catalan authorities are planning to vaccinate its 114,000 foreign residents. 

Covid-19 vaccine information in English or specifically aimed at foreign residents in Spain is hard to find currently. This is partly because there is no central government decision on how foreigners should be incorporated into the vaccination campaigns. It’s up to all 17 regional governments to decide how, and to inform their extranjeros of their Covid vaccination strategies. 

So far, we’ve covered the vaccination situation for foreigners in Andalusia, Valencia and Murcia regions. The general advice for those with private health insurance in the above regions, being that they should either make sure they have their town hall registration (padrón) up to date or contact their local health authorities for a temporary public health card.

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The most important takeaway for this anonymous group is that they must ensure their local health authorities know of their existence.

Foreigners who are residents, pay social security contributions in Spain and are registered with the public health system will already be incorporated into the vaccine strategy, although it’s always useful to check your local health centre has your most up-to-date contact details. 

Where do foreigners in Catalonia stand with regards to the Covid-19 vaccine?

Everyone resident in Catalonia has the right to access the public healthcare system, regardless of their residency status, the Catalan public healthcare system states. 

If you live in Catalonia, the best way to ensure you’re included in the vaccine rollout plan is to register with the Catalan public healthcare system – CatSalut.

READ ALSO: How to apply for a public healthcare card in Spain

Catalan public health secretary Josep Maria Argimon said during a press conference in February that “the only requirement [for getting the vaccine] is having the public health card”.

To get a public health card, you must ensure that you have your padrón certificate from your town hall. You must also be paying into the Spanish social security system. 

If you do not pay social security because you are not employed or registered as self-employed (autónomo) and are not automatically eligible for the CatSalut public health card, you can access it in one of two ways.

If you can afford to do so, you can apply for the special provision of health care here, known as the convenio especial. This has a cost of 60 euros per month for those under €65 and €157 euros per month for those over 65. Here’s more information on how to apply for it in Catalonia. You can even sign up for this temporarily when your group is called up to be vaccinated and de-register later. 

Lower-income foreign residents who are not registered in the Spanish social security system can apply for help with public coverage here or via this online application form.

You can also process the application for affiliation with the INSS as Holder or Beneficiary and attach it electronically with your DNI / NIE when you apply for your health card.

What else do foreigners in Catalonia need to know?

The Spanish government website states: “All people included in the priority groups are being vaccinated regardless of their nationality or their type of insurance”.

If you have not made your status as resident official, you should do so as soon as possible by registering at the town hall, as well as getting your green certificate or TIE. Having your padrón, in particular, will be essential in registering with your local health authority. 

If applying for a public CatSalut card, you will have a specific public doctor assigned to you. Foreigners who don’t have a doctor assigned to them on the day they have their vaccination appointment should present their European Health Card, their passport or ID card and their padrón town hall certificate to prove that they are residing in Catalonia. 

READ ALSO: TSE Card: How to get a Spanish European Health Insurance card

The vaccination registrations in Catalonia are being done through the Catalan La Meva Salut online system. When your group is called up to be vaccinated, you will receive an SMS text message to let you know. You should then visit this webpage in order to get an appointment for your vaccine. There is an option to register with your CIP CatSalut number or an option to register with your NIE or passport number if you don’t have the former.

If you don’t receive the text message and you know that your group has been called up, you should register for the appointment via the same webpage anyway to ensure that they have a record of you.

How about if I only have private health insurance?

Catalan public health secretary Argimon has recommended that foreigners and Spanish nationals who only have private medical insurance contact their doctors and get in touch with public health system officials once their group is called to receive the vaccine. 

During a press conference, he assured that everybody in Catalonia is entitled to receive the vaccine, regardless of nationality and migration status, including homeless people.

To make the process go smoother, you could apply for a public health CatSalut card via one of the ways mentioned above, even if it is only temporary. 


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