Can foreigners and cross-border workers get vaccinated against coronavirus in Austria?

Can foreigners get vaccinated in Austria?
Photo: TOBIAS SCHWARZ / AFP / POOL
Foreigners - including cross-border workers - can get vaccinated in Austria under certain circumstances. Here’s what you need to know.

Austria’s vaccination drive, which began in December, is expected to kick into gear in April. 

As vaccinations become available to the general public, one question we have been asked regularly is what kind of documentation you need to get vaccinated in Austria. 

Here is the form you need to get vaccinated in Austria

More specifically, people have asked us whether you need to be an Austrian citizen to get vaccinated – and whether people who cross the border to work in Austria are also entitled to the vaccine. 

Here’s what you need to know. 

E-card holders entitled to the vaccine

As with most medical procedures in Austria, the most important document is the e-card. 

The Austrian e-card is an electronic chip card linked to the electronic administration system of Austria’s social insurance system, which includes health, accident, pension and unemployment insurance.

Anyone who wants to get vaccinated in Austria will need to present their e-card. 

What is Austria’s e-card? Everything you need to know

Foreigners who are resident in Austria will have an e-card, as will most cross-border workers. 

This means that foreigners who live abroad and who do not have Austrian citizenship are unable to access the vaccine in Austria. 

Cross-border workers who do not have health insurance in Austria will need to access the vaccine in their country of residence. 

What other documents do I have to present? 

In addition to your e-card, you need to bring your vaccination certificate and your allergy passport if you have these documents. 

If you do not, this will not prevent the vaccination. 

More information is available at the following official link. 

But what if I don’t have an e-card?

According to official government information, you need to present your e-card when you get vaccinated in order to receive the jab.

More information is available at the following official link. 

While this is unlikely to cause problems for the vast majority of Austrians and Austrian residents who have e-cards, some people such as foreign students and temporary workers do not have an e-card.

According to the Vienna Bar Association (RAK), they will not be prevented from getting the vaccine, provided they have an Austrian social security/insurance number.

As the RAK noted in a specific briefing in January 2021:

“Persons who have a national insurance number are registered in the Central Patient Index (Zentralen Patientenindex/ZPI) – even without a current e-card.”

“This also applies to persons who were once insured or co-insured in Austria. Therefore, they can be administered in the e-vaccination passport. Persons who do not appear in the ZPI receive an error message during identification. They can then only be documented on paper.”

Has Austria’s vaccination scheme impacted foreigners? 

From not providing information in languages other than German to failing to tackle a slew of conspiracy theories and incorrect information on social media, Austrian authorities’ vaccination strategy is failing the country’s sizeable foreign population. 

READ MORE: Is Austria’s vaccination strategy failing foreigners?

Judith Kohlenberger from the Institute for Social Policy at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration told Wien Heute the country has adopted a “white, classically Austrian vaccination campaign”. 

Kohlenberger points out that the Österreich impft (Austria vaccinates) campaign features nobody obviously of a migrant background – unlike of course the vast majority of hospitals and medical centres where people who have contracted coronavirus are being cared for. 

“We just have to go to any hospital in Vienna, where the majority of nurses have a migration background. That would be good (to gather) testimonials to say, yes, we will be vaccinated,” she said. 


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