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Reader question: Can you get a Covid vaccine in France without a carte vitale?

Reader question: Can you get a Covid vaccine in France without a carte vitale?
A doctor administers a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in Lille, northern France. Photo: AFP
As France rolls out its Covid-19 vaccination campaign to more groups, what is the situation for foreigners who are not yet registered in the French health system?

Question: I live in France but I don’t yet have my carte vitale, does this mean I can’t get the Covid vaccine, despite being in an eligible group? 

When French politicians talk about vaccine groups they tend to say things like tous les Français âgés de plus de 55 ans (all French people over the age of 55) – but foreigners in France shouldn’t panic about this, it’s really just a figure of speech.

We contacted the French health ministry, who told us: “Everyone residing in France will be invited to get vaccinated according to the prioritisation of groups as outlined in the vaccination campaign.”

So there’s no problem for foreign residents in France.

You can find the list of eligible groups HERE.

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See also on The Local:

The health ministry also confirmed to The Local that this covers even residents who do not yet have a carte vitale.

Everyone living in France should register with the French health system to get the card the gives you access to refunded healthcare, but the process of registering is quite a long one (up to six months in some areas).

READ ALSO How to get a carte vitale and why you need one

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See also on The Local:

“Seeing as this is a public health issue, unregistered people as well as those in precarious situations [such as the homeless] can get vaccinated for free,” the health ministry said, referring to a government decree published on December 31st.

Everyone residing in France can get the vaccine for free, even if they aren’t registered in the French state health system. This does not include tourists or second home owners.

A directive from the Direction Générale de la Santé clarifies: “As of January 28th 2021, a foreigner will be able to be vaccinated in a vaccination centre even if he or she does not have a carte vitale. From this date, the Covid-19 Vaccination information system will be able to track the vaccination of foreigners who do not have a carte vitale.” 

What kind of documents should I bring?

Vaccine centres, GPs and pharmacies will ask for your carte vitale as a matter of routine, so if you don’t have one you will need to explain your situation.

Several readers of The Local have told us that not having a carte vitale caused a certain amount of confusion at the their local vaccine centre, because it is an unusual situation, but all of them received it in the end, one person after showing the French government decree linked to in this article.
 
There is no official list of documents to bring, however we would advise non-EU residents to bring either a carte de séjour, the receipt acknowledging their application for a carte de séjour or utility bills or other proof of address.
 
EU citizens would to wise to bring their passports and a proof of address. 
 
You could also print out the government decree linked to in this article to provide proof that you are entitled to a vaccine.
 
Everyone – French or not – needs to take ID with them when they go to the vaccine centre.
 
If you have already received a temporary social security number while your application for a carte vitale is being processed, you can use that.

Member comments

  1. I’m in Angoulême, on a one-year visa, no carte vitale. I got an appointment today through Doctolib and I was soooooo close to being refused. I had the government form, and the administering doctor said she’d heard of it, but it only applied to people with cartes vitales. I said that defeated the whole idea of the government decree that vaccines are open to everyone in France regardless of status. What the issue turned out to be, is that her software was demanding a social security number to proceed.

    I am extremely grateful that the guy who had checked me in, who spoke English, heard the exchange (us basically going around in circles, and me not leaving) and showed the doctor how to access a different path in the automated system, where he was able to register me by address and phone and give me a temporary number so that I’d be registered as vaccinated and eligible for my next vaccine in the French Government’s databases.

    I am also grateful that I knew, from the Local’s invaluable articles, that I *had* to be eligible for the vaccine. I might’ve given up if not for you! I hope my anecdote helps someone else who might be in a small town where vaccination centres don’t have much experience with non-EU temporary residents.

  2. Had the vaccine yesterday and I am still waiting my CV. I do have my attestation des droits which I took with me. There was no issue, the young lady asked her colleague what to do and she just noted my temporary social security number so it depends where you are.

  3. Added on, with the App on your phone, you can register your vaccination as well as negative pcr tests. I don’t understand not getting an official document. After the vaccination, we received the official paper stating where we were vaccinated, which vaccine, which batch plus the date for the second vaccination. For that we need to bring and present the first paper.

  4. You don’t need a social security number; they have a code they fill in as a replacement. Just make a RDV, appointment, thru the site advised by the Local, or with your local gp or pharmacy.
    Take along your passport and that should be enough. It was for us. We are not registered in France as it is officially our second home. France also vaccinates the homeless so as not to create pockets of unvaccinated people.

    1. Annoying that the Nontron location just said ‘no’ – showed them all this…..’no, no number we can’t do you…..’

      1. Not everyone knows the rules apparently. My GP told me to show them my European health card which I did at the big vaccination centre. However my husband did not need to do that at all when he visited the local vaccination centre. He had been put on the list by the GP, but it was free. Best to do it thru your GP. Or is it a Brexit issue and you don’t have the European card anymore? Anyway it’s not right because France wants to vaccinate everyone. Try again and hope you get another admin person. Success!

        1. Thank you Liliane – this was a ‘our system doesn’t allow it’ thing! I had every card, attestation, ID etc with me – but no SS number yet… I love France, but the lack of consistency in applying laws, regulations or standards between different people drives me crazy. Someone can just ignore regulations and just say ‘no, sorry’ and you just have to deal with it. Happens in all walks of life it seems!

  5. If you are already registered with a generaliste/GP, I suggest ringing them to make an appointment. I got my RDV for 2 days later. Had my AZ vaccination without any problems. I’m still waiting on a Carte Vitale, so he couldn’t provide an official document to confirm I’d had my first shot ( a CV/Secu number is required), but hope to have this for my second vaccination in June.

  6. I just received the shot and I don’t have a carte vitale. I translated your article into French and handed it to the person checking me in and they took it. You do have to have an appointment or go to a pharmacy. Thanks to you, I have my first shot.

  7. Yep – experienced exactly that today. Had an appointment, they wouldn’t give me the vaccine as I had no number….I showed them the decree, this article – the lot….’sorry, Dr says no…’

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