Vaccination strategy confusion for private healthcare expats

by Lorraine Williamson
Vaccination strategy Private health Care

MADRID – Vaccination Strategy confusion surrounds the roll out for expats not registered with the public healt system. However, is a public health strategy, and as such it is important for all adult residents in Spain to be vaccinated against Covid-19.  However, there appears to be some controversy, confusion and mixed messages around the vaccination strategy. What if you not registered with Spanish social security or in the public health system? Are you entitled to receive the coronavirus vaccine?

Private Healthcare

For those living in Spain with private healthcare, whether permanent residents or not, they are not technically recognised as being among the priority groups set to receive the vaccine. As stated El Mundo, many of this group have not even set foot in a health centre or public hospital. And as such do not possess the Tarjeta Sanitaria (National Health card) as they normally attend private health clinics. 

Public health vaccination strategy confusion

According to the Spanish government website, and as stated above, “the Vaccination plan is part of the public health strategy. And at this moment, with a limited number of doses, all people included in the priority groups are being vaccinated. This is regardless of their nationality or their type of insurance”. 

However, there are various comments on Citizens in Spain Facebook group that say otherwise. Many people advise they have been refused access to register for the vaccine as they have private medical cover. In these instances, the options given were to register with the public health care system. Alternatively,  discuss the options with your private insurance company. Or in some cases, the advice has been to go back to the UK for the vaccination. 

Cogesa Expats

British Embassy clarification 

Due to the confusion, El Pais contacted the British Embassy for some clarification.  An Embassy spokesperson said: “The Spanish Government’s Vaccination Strategy is clear that, as a matter of public health, all people living in Spain are eligible for the vaccine, regardless of nationality or residency status.

At the current time, those in the priority groups are being vaccinated – irrespective of nationality or type of sickness insurance. The Vaccination Strategy is updated regularly to include new priority groups as the number of doses available gradually increases.” 

Insurance companies

“Those UK nationals who are already registered in the public health system should be contacted by their regional health service to arrange an appointment. The Spanish authorities are asking insurance companies to coordinate with regional health services to provide vaccines to their customers. We are in touch with the Spanish authorities regarding progress of the rollout and what that means for UK nationals. Meanwhile UK Nationals living in Spain can contact their local health centre or insurer for more information.” 

Embassy recommendations

The embassy also recommends that people check the Spanish government’s list of frequently asked questions at this link and can also find information about priority groups here (Spanish text). The Health Ministry’s Twitter account is also regularly publishing information on the progress of the pandemic in Spain and the vaccination program. 


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