Some foreigners not entitled to Covid-19 vaccine. Type of insurance matters

Health Ministry dealing with the situation.

The sign reads: Vaccination centre Covid-19, if you need to ensure barrier-free access, contact the staffThe sign reads: Vaccination centre Covid-19, if you need to ensure barrier-free access, contact the staff (Source: TASR)

Covid-19 vaccination is not accessible to everyone in Slovakia.

A 75-year-old Iranian who has been residing in Slovakia since 2016 has learned this the hard way.

Soon after his age group, 75+, became eligible for the Covid-19 jab in January, he registered for vaccination. Since the appointments for vaccination are scarce and fast to fill online in Bratislava where he lives, he travelled to the western-Slovak town of Malacky, about 40 km from Bratislava.

The man wished to remain anonymous but The Slovak Spectator editorial knows his name. He explained he duly registered through the registration form, but the vaccination centre in Malacky Hospital refused to vaccinate him.

He did not have the necessary health insurance, the hospital explained to The Slovak Spectator.

This came as a surprise to the man and his family, as he is paying a health insurance fee. The problem is his insurance is not the public health insurance provided by the state-run or one of the two private health insurers. His is so-called commercial health insurance, often the only option for foreigners in Slovakia who are not entitled to public health insurance for some reason.

Commercial insurance covers basic health care, but not the Covid-19 vaccine.

“From the epidemiological point of view it is absurd that we have people who live in Slovakia, are entitled to the vaccine [in the vaccination strategy], but will not be vaccinated as they are not subject to public health care,” said human rights lawyer Zuzana Števulová, a member of the non-parliamentary Progressive Slovakia who has been dealing with the problem of Covid vaccination accessibility to some groups of foreigners based on their health insurance.

“All elderly people are threatened the same way [with Covid-19], regardless of whether they are or aren’t insured in the public health system.”

Everyone has to be insured

Every foreigner living in Slovakia is obliged to have health insurance. People who work in the country - as employees or self-employed - pay the monthly payroll taxes, or premiums for the public health system just like Slovak citizens. The levies are docked from their gross salaries every month, and are paid to the state-run Všeobecná Zdravotná Poisťovňa, or the private Union or Dôvera health insurers, per choice of the insuree.

But there is a group of people not entitled to public insurance, even if they wanted to pay for it on their own. This includes people who gained a residence permit for the purpose of doing business or family reunion.

The rest of this article is premium content at
Subscribe now for full access

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on and

Get daily Slovak news directly to your inbox

Theme: Foreigners in Slovakia

Read more articles by the topic
This article is also related to other trending topics
Coronavirus, COVID-19 vaccination

Top stories

Youngest pupils returned to schools on April 12.

News digest: Older pupils will return to school after six months

President Čaputová wants to see the agreement on Sputnik V. Cold weather will return.

3 h
Finance Minister Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) between his trips to Moscow and Budapest.

L’état, c’est moi! Matovič demonstrates his ongoing contempt for cabinet government

OĽaNO politicians seem to think they are applying the highest political virtue. Could they be more wrong?

8 h
Illustrative stock photo

Schools will open for more pupils on April 19

At the same time, the schools will follow the regional alert system from April 26.

9 h
How a new shelter will look like will be decided in architectonic competition.

Efforts to build new generation of tourist shelters spark enormous interest

However, trends in combination with social networks may be a double-edged sword, photographer of Slovak shelters opined.

9 h