A comprehensive guide to vaccination in the Czech Republic: updated May 5, 2021

We've compiled key information about how, where, and when you can get vaccinated in the Czech Republic.

Expats.cz

Written by Expats.cz
Published on 05.05.2021 12:31 (updated on 05.05.2021)

Vaccine rollout for the Czech Republic began at the end of December 2020. Initially complicated by slow shipments of vaccines, shortages of needles, and a lack of distribution and vaccination infrastructure, by the end of April, around 3.2 million people have been vaccinated, with 1 million receiving both doses.

With a Czech population of 10.65 million, there is still a long way to go until 70 percent of the population is vaccinated. The country has fallen short of its goal of 100,000 vaccinations per day by Easter; the record number of daily vaccination given was 72,843 doses administered in a single day.  

These are some of our readers most frequently asked questions about the Covid-19 vaccination process and key information about how, where, and when you can get vaccinated in the Czech Republic:

Data via Ministry of Health/visual Novinky.cz
Data via Ministry of Health/visual Novinky.cz

Who is eligible for vaccination in the Czech Republic?

Anyone who is insured by the public health insurance system is eligible for free vaccination. According to VZP, the largest public health insurer in the Czech Republic, anyone with trvalý pobyt (permanent residence) in the Czech Republic is automatically entitled to coverage, and as such should be entitled to vaccination. However, Pojišťovna VZP, a.s. (PVZP) is the commercial arm of VZP is not considered public health insurance, and people with this coverage and other forms of private coverage cannot currently register for vaccination.

There are seven insurance companies in the public system: Všeobecná zdravotní pojišťovna (VZP), Vojenská zdravotní pojišťovna (VoZP), Česká průmyslová zdravotní pojišťovna (ČPZP), Oborová zdravotní pojišťovna (OZP), Zaměstnanecká pojišťovna Škoda (ZPŠ), Zdravotní pojišťovna ministerstva vnitra (ZP MV ČR), RBP, Zdravotní pojišťovna (RBP).

The Czech Health Ministry has not responded to requests for clarification on cases of foreigners with residency who have been unable to register vaccination, and their last statement on the issue, from Feb. 1, 2021, says the issue is being resolved.

What are the roll out dates for my age group?

Vaccination is split into a two-phase system. The first phase is split into two parts with the first part for the elderly, medical staff, and people working in social services. The second part of the first phase, from March until the end of June, will see people with chronic illnesses and elderly people register first for the vaccine, and younger people added as more vaccine is available. Priority vaccination of teachers and of some people with chronic diseases has already ended. The second phase starts on June 1, 2021, and is categorized as “voluntary and general vaccination of citizens," and anyone with public health insurance, from one of the seven public insurers (see above), aged 16 and over, can be vaccinated.

Vaccine roll-out dates across age groups

  • Dec. 27, 2020: Healthcare workers in hospitals, seniors in homes
  • Phase 1A:
  • Jan. 15: People over 80
  • Jan. 26: Medical workers, students, volunteers
  • Feb. 27: Selected teachers and school staff over 55 years old
  • Phase 1B:
  • March 1: People age 70 to 79; general practitioners can start to vaccinate
  • March 24: Higher-category chronic patients regardless of age
  • March 28: Priority registration of teachers ends
  • April 12: Lower-category chronic patients regardless of age
  • April 14: People age 65 to 69
  • April 23: People age 60 to 64
  • April 28: People age 55 to 59
  • April 30: Validity for codes for high-category chronic patients expires
  • May 5: People age 50 to 54
  • May 15: Validity of codes for low-priority chronic diseases expires
  • Phase 2
  • June 1: People 16 and over

How do I register to get vaccinated when it's my turn?

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), or Evropský průkaz zdravotního pojištění), contains your insurance number. This number can be used to register via the Central Reservation System.

To log into the Health Ministry reservation system, you need to enter a mobile phone number that will receive a security code. After entering the security code, you fill in your first name, surname, and insurance number.

Next you may choose the vaccination site where you want to have the vaccine administered. If it has free dates, the applicant will receive another PIN code. After entering it, it is possible to book the day and time of vaccination.


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Screen via the Ministry of Health

If you are insured in another EU state and have an EHIC, you should fill out an auxiliary registration with one of the seven Czech health insurance companies. Other EU citizens can fill in an S1 form to claim social rights. Details on how to exercise your EU rights for vaccination can be found on the government's Covid portal.

A step-by-step explanation of the registration process is also available in English on the government's Covid portal.

I'm having problems registering. What should I do?

We have received a number of reports from readers having trouble registering because their birth number (rodné číslo) is not the same as their insurance number. Some people have said that entering their birth number instead of their insurance number allowed them to complete the registration. People without a birth number who are still entitled to vaccination should contact their general practitioner.

Other foreigners have reported having issues registering due to their "foreign" name. This issue should now be resolved.  

Additional problems have also come up due to patients incorrectly entering their birth numbers in the registration system. Such technical errors can usually be corrected by contacting your GP or calling the 1221 helpline.

How long do I have to wait after registering?

Waiting times to get an appointment at vaccination sites vary according to interest. Some sites vaccinate dozens daily, while other do others hundreds or thousands of people. The number of people waiting for an appointment at individual vaccination centers can be verified on the website of the Institute of Health Information and Statistics (ÚZIS). Unofficial information on the number of people waiting and the average time for an appointment is also available.

Which vaccines are used in the Czech Republic and can I choose which one I get?

The BioNTech and Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have all been approved by the State Institute for Drug Control (SÚKL) for use in the Czech Republic. Other vaccines have been developed, but currently SÚKL is only allowing vaccines that have been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for use in the European Union.

The EMA is currently considering several other vaccines, and approval is expected for the Sanofi Pasteur and Novavax vaccines sometime this year. Other vaccines including Sputnik V are also in the process of being evaluated, but the EMA has not set out a time frame for approval.

You cannot currently choose which vaccine to get. Odds are you will get the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, as that one so far has been the most widely available, accounting for about three-fourths of the deliveries.

Where do I go to get vaccinated?

Once available to you, registration for a vaccine will take place through the Central Reservation System. You will be able to have the vaccine either with your GP or at a specialized center.

A large-scale vaccination center at O2 universum opened to the public on May 3 and should handle up to 7,000 people per day if enough vaccine is available.

Entrance to the Metropolitan vaccination centre against COVID-19 at Prague Congress Centre (Photo via iStock -Gabi Uhrova)
Entrance to the Metropolitan vaccination centre against COVID-19 at Prague Congress Centre (Photo via iStock - Gabi Uhrova)

Prague City Hall has opened a Metropolitan Vaccination Center at the Prague Congress Center. It can serve 1,000 people per day in a bid to speed up the vaccination process. People who want to go there still need to register first through the Health Ministry registration system.

One expat who has been vaccinated said the procedure was fairly straightforward. He has Czech national insurance and had a registration code from his general practitioner due to a chronic condition. After registering online with the code, he received an SMS the same day and was able to make an appointment to get vaccinated weeks two weeks later at General University Hospital at Karlovo náměstí in Prague 2, which is one of the larger centers. The nurse at reception spoke English, as did a woman who showed him where to go and the person who administered the vaccine. “Everyone was friendly and helpful. I had to wait 30 minutes to see if there were side effects,” he said.  

Will I need one or two doses and how do I make an appointment for the second dose?

The Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccines require two doses, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose. The second doses of Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are now given after 42 days, so that more people can get a first dose. Previously, the second dose of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been after 21 days and Moderna after 28 days. The interval for the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine remains at 12 weeks.

You should receive an appointment slot for the second shot as soon as you get your first shot. The health authorities have your mobile number in case it needs to be changed.

As of now, health authorities have not announced a long-term strategy specifying whether or not vaccinations will be required every year.

How can I prove I was vaccinated?

The vaccination center issues a certificate after the second dose. A person is considered vaccinated two weeks after the second dose, as it takes time for it to be effective. The certificate is sent by email, and a password to open it is sent by SMS. Current details can be found on the government's Covid portal.

What's the latest on 'vaccine passports'?

The European Union has launched a "Digital Green Certificate" program to allow the safe free movement of citizens within the EU during the pandemic, though it is still under preparation. The scheme will be valid across all EU countries and will be free of charge. It will be used for people who have either been vaccinated against Covid-19, received a negative test result, or recovered from Covid-19.

The certificates are awaiting approval from member states. The EU aims to negotiate with the World Health Organization to allow certificates to be recognized in non-EU countries as well.

The EU is also considering a way of recognizing vaccination certificates from the United States, which would allow international travel from the U.S. to Europe. Details have not been ironed out. This could also possibly be used by expats who went home to the U.S. to get vaccinated. So far, all of the vaccines used in the U.S. have also been approved for use in the EU.

The Czech government is also working on a plan to issue some kind of certification that a person has been vaccinated, tested negative, or had Covid in the past 90 days. This could possible be used for international travel if the EU system is delayed.

Useful resources

This article will be updated over time to reflect changes in the registration process or should any changes be made in the future. Every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of this information at press time; however, due to the continuously changing nature of Covid information, we ask that you always verify any uncertainty directly with your GP or the Ministry of Health.

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