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How do I prove my right to vaccination in France without carte Vitale?

Legally, you cannot be refused a vaccination because you are not in the French health system; we explain why

23 April 2021
By Liv Rowland

My husband was refused a vaccination because he did not have a carte Vitale to show membership of the French health system – can you point us to any official information to show this is incorrect?

The official position of the French Health Ministry as told to The Connexion is that holding a carte Vitale is not obligatory to be vaccinated; this is also mentioned explicitly in a decree from December 31, 2020.

However you should be a resident of France and have proof of this if asked for it.

This was the case for one reader in Perpignan, who said she and her sister had their jabs at the hospital there, having booked them via the online platform doctolib.fr

“At the hospital we had to show ID and a utility bill to demonstrate we were residents here. The staff were friendly and very efficient,” she wrote.

We should point out that not holding a carte Vitale is the exception in France and it could be that the official in question at the vaccination centre your husband attended was not familiar with this.

Among those who may not have a carte Vitale are Britons who only recently came to France and have not yet become established in the French system, and / or are early-retirees who have opted to continue with private health insurance as opposed to seeking entry to the French system on residence grounds.

What proof is there that a carte Vitale is not required?

The Connexion this morning telephoned the government’s Coronavirus Covid-19 helpline (0800 130 000) about this point.

The advisor was not able to respond immediately, however after checking with colleagues he said there is no reason for foreign residents of France who have no carte Vitale to be refused a vaccination.

He said however they should bring a justificatif de domicile (proof of  living in France). A typical example of this would be a recent utility bill such as from EDF, showing your French address. If you have one, you could also show a French residency card.

This was also previously confirmed to The Connexion by a French Health Ministry spokeswoman who wrote: “Not being covered [by the French health system] is in no case a barrier to being vaccinated.”

It is also confirmed by Decree 2020-1833 of December 31, 2020 whose first article sets out that all costs related to Covid-19 vaccination are being funded with no charge remaining to the patient.

Its second article adds: “Also fully funded are all the costs linked to these consultations and injections… under the same conditions as in the previous section for those who do not benefit from French state healthcare cover….

“For the services mentioned in the previous lines, the persons also benefit from not having to advance any sums.”

What can I do if I am still refused?

If a particular local official at a vaccination centre is not familiar with these rules we can only suggest booking at an alternative centre or trying one of the other avenues now open.

The latter include asking your usual GP, if you have one, if he or she could vaccinate you or prescribe a vaccine for a nurse to inject.

Some pharmacies now also offer Covid vaccinations to those in the eligible categories.

Read more

New app helps find Covid vaccination appointments 

Covid-19 vaccination - your questions answered 

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