AS the coronavirus vaccine continues to be rolled out across Spain, many British expats have been left wondering whether or not they will receive the jab.
According to the Ministry of Health, the vaccine will be available to everyone in the country ‘on public health grounds’, but how will that work in practice?
“All residents in Spain may be vaccinated. Vaccination is universal, it includes all people,” the Health Ministry told Vozpopuli this week.
With Brits making up to 50% or more of the population in some popular expat areas, making sure they are on the vaccine list could prove fundamental in achieving herd immunity.
For now, each of the 17 autonomous communities, such as Andalucia and Valencia, are responsible for managing their own vaccination programmes.
However the list of priority candidates is universal, with over 80s currently at the front of the queue.
If you are an official resident – with a TIE or green residency card – and are registered on your region’s health service, then you should be contacted for the vaccine when your group is being targeted e.g. over 60s or those with compromised immune systems.
However if you receive private insurance, regional health bodies may find it more difficult to locate you.
And there are currently no plans to involve the private health sector into the vaccination plan.
“The public system has the capacity to carry out vaccination in Spain,” Health Minister Salvador Illa said this week, “In fact, in the last flu vaccination campaign, 14 million doses were given in three months.”
It has still not been made clear how British expats who use private healthcare will be contacted for a vaccine.
“We know that some of you are concerned about how you will get the COVID vaccine in Spain, particularly those of you who access healthcare via private health insurance,” the British Embassy in Spain said in an online statement this week.
“The Spanish Ministry of Health announced that they would be offering the vaccine to everyone in Spain on public health grounds. It is for the Spanish authorities to determine how and in what order the vaccine rollout is implemented.
“We are following closely what that will mean for British nationals resident in Spain and we will keep you updated if we have further information. Meanwhile, you can find more information at: https://www.vacunacovid.gob.es“
Spain operates its health system regionally. You can also check for information from your regional health authority about the vaccination plan in your area: www.mscbs.gob.es/organizacion/ccaa/directorio/home.htm
or contact your local health centre for information.