Mayor of Prague calls on health ministry to address vaccination of uninsured foreigners

Hřib argued that if uninsured foreigners, primarily in Prague, were eliminated from the vaccination system, the population protection would not be secured.


Written by ČTK Published on 11.05.2021 15:23:00 (updated on 11.05.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague, May 11 (ČTK) - Prague Mayor Zdenek Hřib (Pirates) called on the Health Ministry on Twitter today to deal with the Covid vaccination of foreigners without health insurance in the Czech Republic.

Currently, only people with public health insurance can get vaccinated against Covid, in the Czech Republic including foreigners with permanent residence and foreign employees.

Hřib argued that if uninsured foreigners, primarily in Prague, were eliminated from the vaccination system, the population protection would not be secured.

Solve vaccinations for uninsured foreigners living in the Czech Republic as soon as possible! I called upon @ZdravkoOnline. Allegedly, the contractual security and the method of payment to hospitals remain to be resolved. If uninsured foreigners (especially in Prague) drop out of the vaccination system, the protection of the population will not be ensured," he tweeted.

It isn't known how many uninsured foreigners live in the Czech Republic and its capital.

According to the Interior Ministry statistics, 656,300 foreigners lived in the Czech Republic at the end of the first quarter, 344,300 of whom had a temporary residence and the others permanent residence in the country. However, this figure also included citizens of the EU, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland who can have public health insurance in the Czech Republic. Foreigners from many countries with which the Czech Republic signed the respective intergovernmental agreement can get the vaccine as well, too.

However, the Czech Republic does not have such an agreement with Ukraine, for instance.

At the end of March, 87,300 Ukrainians had temporary residence in the Czech Republic, while their number rose to 89,500 by end-April. Close to 27,000 Ukrainians live in the Czech capital temporarily out of the total 129,200 foreigners with temporary residence in Prague, including those from the EU and selected countries with bilateral agreements.

The Labor Office registered 280,100 foreign employees from the counties outside the EU, 186,400 of them from Ukraine at the end of the first quarter.

Employers pay health insurance for their employees who are then entitled to health care covered by public health insurance, including Covid vaccination. However, foreigners working in the Czech Republic illegally may pose a problem.

The state labor inspection office data shows that some 2,400 illegal foreigners resided in the Czech Republic last year, while in the previous two years, it was more than 3,500.

Health insurers estimate the costs of the Covid vaccination of the entire population at some CZK 9 billion crowns.

Health Minister Petr Arenberger (ANO) said on Monday that people would have to be revaccinated against the coronavirus regularly, once a year or 1.5 years. The EU is preparing this, signing contracts for a further 1.8 billion vaccine doses from Pfizer/BioNTech.

The mayor's tweet did not address those foreigners with commercial insurance who have also been unable to register for Covid vaccination in the Czech Republic.

One commenter posted: "Thank you, Mr. Mayor. It's a shame that citizens of non-EU countries are not in the system of public healthcare (so, of course, they pay just for commercial) have been forgotten. My girlfriend has been living in Prague for 4 years, but she works as a self-employed person, so bad luck. However, there are also people 65+ in this group."

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