For members


‘It’s so frustrating’: The foreigners in Spain who haven’t been vaccinated even though it’s their turn

What happens if your age group has been called up for the Covid-19 vaccine in your region but you haven’t been able to register for your appointment and no one has contacted you? Here are some of vaccination problems our readers have told us about recently and some potential solutions.

waiting vaccine spain
Photo: Philippe LOPEZ / AFP

According to official stats, Spain has administered 30 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine so far and has fully vaccinated 23.4 percent of the population, but is it possible that some people have slipped through the net?

Most regional health authorities have reportedly made sure there are alternative systems in place for those who don’t normally have access to Spain’s public health system, as Covid vaccines can only being administered by public health officials.

These have included asking foreign residents to register at the town hall (padrón) for local health authorities to have an updated census of residents, to providing a temporary public health number just for the Covid vaccine, and in-person registration at local health centres.

Spain’s National Statistics Institute reported at the start of 2021 that there were 5.4 million foreign residents in Spain, but according to Spain’s Social Security and Migrations Ministry, only 2.07 million of them are registered with the country’s social security system.

Spanish authorities have previously said that everyone in Spain will be vaccinated regardless of their status, but many of the foreign residents in Spain who have contacted us are not 100 percent convinced by this. 

Despite trying to take the necessary steps to register for the Covid-19 vaccine, they haven’t been able to register with public health authorities in some cases, nor received their vaccine or their appointment yet, even though people in their age or priority group have already been contacted.

People who only have private health insurance have been the most affected, judging by the responses The Local Spain has received. 

After exhausting all their options, some of our readers have chosen to fly back to their home countries.

“Going to US next week and already have vaccine appointment!,” one American resident in Madrid who was told he’d only be able to get the vaccine if he paid social security, told The Local Spain. 


The first step if you haven’t yet been contacted about getting your vaccine is to make sure that you’re registered with your local health authority. Most people are eligible for this if they pay social security, although there are other possible ways.

If you aren’t eligible for public healthcare and only have private health insurance, then read on to find out what problems our readers have been having and some potential solutions. 


In Valencia for example, those who only have private health insurance must contact their local health centres and will be given a temporary SIP health card, which covers them just for the vaccination process.

Jaime, who lives in the Valencia region, told The Local Spain how easy the process was. “I have private health insurance,” he said. “We went to our local centro de salud and were give SIP cards, which were only good for vaccine appointments, since we do not qualify for the national health service. Soon afterwards, we both received text messages and have now been give our first jabs.”

Sarah, who also lives in the Valencia region, confirmed how easy it was to get a vaccination appointment and said that both her and her husband had already received their first dose. “We were both notified by text message of the date, time and venue of the vaccination”, she told us.

READ ALSO: What foreigners in Spain’s Valencia region need to know about getting the Covid vaccine

In other regions, it can be slightly more tricky than this, although many of them also have simple procedures in place.


Bernice messaged us to say that her husband, who is a resident in Andalusia with private health insurance and an S1 form, is still waiting for his vaccine.

The Andalusian health authorities are saying that anyone who is not registered with the Andalusian Health service, such as those with private insurance should download an application form here and take it to their local health centre. Once registered they can check online that all their contact details are correct at ClicSalud+ and register for an appointment when their age group is called up.


Wendy who lives in Catalonia messaged us to say “I am 64 and my husband is 61, we have private health insurance and do not qualify for public health care yet. We have heard nothing yet and not for want of trying. It is so frustrating”. 

If you’re not registered with the CatSalut public health system in Catalonia, then you can still register to get the vaccine. Follow this link to register and instead of clicking in CIP, click on ‘DNI/NIE/PASSAPORT’ in order to register with those details instead.

A woman receives a jab of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine during a vaccination campaign against COVID-19 in Barcelona. Photo: LLUIS GENE / AFP


Fifty-year-old Lawrie who lives in Madrid contacted us to say that he has private health insurance and is not in the public system. “I phoned the 900 102 112 number and was told they put me in the system with my Sanitas number. That was weeks ago and I have not been contacted since, so I suspect I am actually not in the system at all,” he told us.

The Madrid health authorities have said that their automated appointment system is currently available to those aged 50 years and over, without an upper age limit (born in 1971 and earlier) and only for the first dose.

According to the Madrid regional health website, you can make sure you’re in the public health system by following this link.

On the website they state: “You must identify yourself by entering your CIPA number, or if you do not have a CIPA, your identification document (DNI / residency document or passport) and your date of birth. The system will check if you are in the age group available for getting the vaccine. You can then select your appointment from available slots. Once this is done, you will receive an SMS with the verification code to confirm your details. You will be given the details of your appointment, as well as a QR code to access the vaccination point. You will receive a reminder SMS at least 24 hours before the day of the appointment”. 


Deborah in Murcia contacted The Local to say: “My husband and I live in Campos del Rio, Murcia. My husband is 61 and I am 60. We have private medical insurance. We have had no luck in getting the vaccine, any help would be appreciated”. 

If you’re not registered with the public healthcare authorities in Murcia and only have private insurance, then the Murcian health authorities have set up a separate portal for you to register for your vaccine. You can access it here.

When you are called up for your vaccine, you must bring along your private health insurance policy and an identity document such as your TIE, residency document or passport.

Castilla-La Mancha

Ian who lives in Albacete contacted The Local Spain to tell us that he has private healthcare insurance, is a legal resident, and a taxpayer. He said: I’ve e-mailed the CLM health department as their website only shows how irregular foreign residents can apply for the public health card. There’s nowhere for foreign legal residents to register”.

The authorities in Castilla La Mancha say that anyone over the age of 50 who has not received their vaccine yet should contact their local health authority to let them know. The phone numbers for each province in Castilla-La Mancha can be found here.


Member comments

  1. We live in andulucia
    Our local health centre refuses point blank to accept the junta form . We are only supposed to present with NIE and passport but they want padrón and that to show at least 180 days residency .plus ehic / ghic We came on 28 dec to meet the transition deadline .
    So far we have tried several times and been refused each time

  2. I am in Andulacia have private insurance and was able to register at my local clinic. But so far I cannot make an appointment online or via the Salud Responde phone system despite it being open to my age group for a couple weeks. I was beginning to wonder if they have us at the bottom of the list.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


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.