As part of our efforts to monitor access to the COVID-19 vaccines for undocumented migrants in Europe, we’re speaking with national-level advocates about the situation in their countries. This interview was conducted in June 2021 with Magda Faltová of Migrace to discuss the situation in the Czech Republic. It is not meant to offer an exhaustive picture of the legal and practical context in the Czech Republic. Please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have information you’d like to share, and follow our Twitter page @PICUM_post to get more recent updates.
What does the Czech vaccination strategy say about undocumented people?
The Czech vaccination strategy doesn’t say anything about undocumented migrants unfortunately. As the vaccination campaign stands now, only people with public health insurance, and – as of 11 June – regularly residing migrants with private health insurance, are able to access the COVID-19 vaccines.
So the mainstream booking system isn’t accessible for undocumented people?
The mainstream booking system provides two main avenues to register: neither is accessible for this population because of the data they require.
The first one is an online portal, which requires a national ID number or a passport number that is already registered in the national database, and then a public health insurance number.
The second avenue is through GPs, who can administer the vaccines themselves. However, to get the vaccine, you would still need to provide a national ID and public health insurance number at the doctor’s office.
Even if you somehow managed to book your vaccine, staff at the vaccination centre would still check your ID and public health insurance card.
Is anything being done for undocumented people?
On 30 June, the Ministry of Health sent a letter to regional authorities stating that they can also vaccinate migrants without health insurance. But nothing was said as to how to practically organise this or how to reach this group.
What’s more, the regions don’t want to pay for the administration of the vaccines to this population. So now authorities at different levels are discussing how to cover these costs.
The Prague Municipality is currently piloting a scheme where local social services administer the vaccines to people without health insurance.
If vaccines at some point become practically available for undocumented migrants too, would they risk facing immigration checks?
In theory, the mainstream booking system doesn’t transfer data to the immigration authorities. But it’s unclear what happens with the vaccination certificates, which are needed for people to access a whole range of services and places in the Czech Republic, and which is administered by the Ministry of Health. And it’s unclear what impact the new EU Green Pass will have on the processing of data of vaccinated people.
Our concern is that the Ministry of Interiors won’t hesitate to use such data, should it be stored somewhere.
Cover: Adobe Stock – JackF