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VACCINE

What’s the latest on getting a vaccination certificate in Spain?

Only a few Spanish regions have announced how they will provide proof of vaccination to its citizens. Here’s what we know about the ‘certificados de vacunación’, why they're not easy to get and how they differ from so-called 'Covid passports'. 

What's the latest on getting a vaccination certificate in Spain?
Getting a vaccination certificate in Spain isn't straightforward. Photo: PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP

What do we mean by a vaccination certificate?

We’re referring to proof – on paper or in digital format – provided to every person who has just been vaccinated against Covid-19 in Spain. 

As things stand, Spanish authorities have been primarily focused on developing their own ‘Covid passport’ (set to be launched in June) which would have as its primary use facilitating travel outside of Spain, and which would work in tandem with the EU’s Green Digital Certificate (due in July).

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It isn’t clear yet whether Spanish authorities will make their ‘Covid passports’ a replacement to vaccination certificates, but currently there are many people in Spain who aren’t being handed a document that shows which vaccine they’ve received, when and where, even if just for informational purposes.

Is there a record that I’ve been vaccinated?

According to the Spanish government’s Covid-19 vaccine website, “vaccinations against COVID-19 are registered in the regions’ information systems or medical records. On a daily basis these systems or registries send this information to the national registry REGVACU.”

“All this information, as with the rest of vaccines, will be recorded in the clinical history of each person.”

Which regions in Spain are providing vaccine certificates?

So far we’ve found that at least six of Spain’s 17 regions allow people to access proof of vaccination in digital format (June 4th update: This number has since risen to 10 regions, the link below explains how to request a vaccination certificate in these regions).

Region by region: How to get a Covid-19 vaccination certificate in Spain

But as is so often the case in Spain, there are disparities between the different regions and no homogenous way of accessing this information, as each territory is responsible for the management of its own Covid-19 health strategy. It isn’t always necessarily easy to do either, requiring a digital certificate and fairly good knowledge of how to navigate Spanish government websites.

“I’d like to condemn that Murcia’s regional health service didn’t provide me with any sort of paper stating which vaccine I received,” one woman told local Murcia radio programme Hoy por Hoy. 

“They’ve told me that even after I get the second vaccine, I won’t receive any sort of proof and I can’t understand why. I need to know which vaccine I’ve received, when and proof that I’ve actually been vaccinated. 

Spain’s Association of Health Users has since lodged a complaint against Murcian health authorities arguing that “everybody should have the right to access their medical records”, citing the Valencia region as an example of how it should be done. 

In fact, it is possible to download a vaccination certificate – or certificado vacunal – from the Murcia health system website, although according to the latest reports users need to have a digital certificate or electronic ID and the delivery of the certificate isn’t immediate.

Does it matter that people in Spain aren’t being given proof that they’ve been vaccinated?

Aside from the fact that citizens should indeed have the right to access their own medical records, even if just for purely informational purposes, there is nothing to currently indicate that a vaccination certificate would give extra rights or access within Spain’s borders. 

Since the end of the country’s state of alarm, regional border closures have lifted for all residents and tourists, and there isn’t any priority or benefit that those who have been vaccinated get over those who haven’t, apart from immunity against Covid-19 obviously. 

In Germany for example, showing proof of vaccination means that citizens can go into a pub or a restaurant without needing to get a PCR test first. 

In Italy, authorities have said they will require a health passport when weddings and big events are allowed to start again in June. 

Since May 27th, issued vaccination certificates in neighbouring France can be scanned and turned into a health passport.

Sweden on the other hand said it will announce in mid-June whether vaccine passes will be used for domestic events. 

While it may seem that the need for a vaccination certificate on home soil is more justified in other EU countries, allowing everyone in Spain easy access to their medical and vaccination records still seems necessary. 

The case for a paper copy over a digital version of a vaccine certificate – handed to the patient by the health worker moments after they’ve administered the vaccine – should also be considered across the country. 

More than 9 million in Spain are over the age of 65 and not necessarily tech-savvy, making it even harder for them to access downloadable vaccination certificates buried deep in government websites.

READ ALSO: Spain’s Covid vaccine calendar – When will I get the jab?

Member comments

  1. I live in Mallorca and received my first Astrazeneca vaccination in April. At the vaccination centre I was issued with a ‘Tarjeta de vacunación Covid-19’. It shows my full name, NIE, location and code of vaccination centre, date of first dose, type of vaccine administered including a small sticker with QR code showing the batch number and the date for the second vaccine with space to fill in the name of the vaccine and the batch number sticker. Well done Baleares!

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COVID-19

Spain rules out EU’s advice on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination 

Spain’s Health Ministry said Thursday there will be no mandatory vaccination in the country following the European Commission’s advice to Member States to “think about it” and Germany’s announcement that it will make vaccines compulsory in February.

Spain rules out EU's advice on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination 
A Spanish man being vaccinated poses with a custom-made T-shirt showing Spain's chief epidimiologist Fernando Simón striking a 'Dirty Harry/Clint Eastwood' pose over the words "What part of keep a two-metre distance don't you understand?' Photo: José Jordan

Spain’s Health Minister Carolina Darias on Thursday told journalists Covid-19 vaccines will continue to be voluntary in Spain given the “very high awareness of the population” with regard to the benefits of vaccination.

This follows the words of European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday, urging Member States to “think about mandatory vaccination” as more cases of the Omicron variant are detected across Europe. 

READ ALSO: Is Spain proving facts rather than force can convince the unvaccinated?

“I can understand that countries with low vaccine coverage are contemplating this and that Von der Leyen is considering opening up a debate, but in our country the situation is absolutely different,” Darias said at the press conference following her meeting with Spain’s Interterritorial Health Council.

According to the national health minister,  this was also “the general belief” of regional health leaders of each of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities she had just been in discussion with over Christmas Covid measures. 

READ MORE: Spain rules out new restrictions against Omicron variant

Almost 80 percent of Spain’s total population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19, a figure which is around 10 percent higher if looking at those who are eligible for the vaccine (over 12s). 

It has the highest vaccination rate among Europe’s most populous countries.

Germany announced tough new restrictions on Thursday in a bid to contain its fourth wave of Covid-19 aimed largely at the country’s unvaccinated people, with outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking in favour of compulsory vaccinations, which the German parliament is due to vote on soon.

Austria has also already said it will make Covid-19 vaccines compulsory next February, Belgium is also considering it and Greece on Tuesday said it will make vaccination obligatory for those over 60.

But for Spain, strict Covid-19 vaccination rules have never been on the table, having said from the start that getting the Covid-19 jabs was voluntary. 

There’s also a huge legal implication to imposing such a rule which Spanish courts are unlikely to look on favourably. 

Stricter Covid restrictions and the country’s two states of alarm, the first resulting in a full national lockdown from March to May 2020, have both been deemed unconstitutional by Spain’s Constitutional Court. 

READ ALSO: Could Spain lock down its unvaccinated or make Covid vaccines compulsory?

The Covid-19 health pass to access indoor public spaces was also until recently consistently rejected by regional high courts for breaching fundamental rights, although judges have changed their stance favouring this Covid certificate over old Covid-19 restrictions that affect the whole population.

MAP: Which regions in Spain now require a Covid health pass for daily affairs?

“In Spain what we have to do is to continue vaccinating as we have done until now” Darias added. 

“Spaniards understand that vaccines are not only a right, they are an obligation because we protect others with them”.

What Spanish health authorities are still considering is whether to vaccinate their 5 to 11 year olds after the go-ahead from the European Medicines Agency, with regions such as Madrid claiming they will start vaccinating their young children in December despite there being no official confirmation from Spain’s Vaccine Committee yet.

READ MORE: Will Spain soon vaccinate its children under 12?

Spain’s infection rate continues to rise day by day, jumping 17 points up to 234 cases per 100,000 people on Thursday. There are now also five confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the country, one through community transmission.

Hospital bed occupancy with Covid patients has also risen slightly nationwide to 3.3 percent, as has ICU Covid occupancy which now stands at 8.4 percent, but the Spanish government insists these figures are “almost three times lower” than during previous waves of the coronavirus pandemic.

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