Vaccinated in Catalonia but still can't get your Covid certificate? You're not alone
People without CatSalut coverage continue to face obstacles as use of health pass extended
Catalonia's Covid-19 vaccination campaign began almost a year ago in l'Hospitalet de Llobregat, with then-89-year-old Josefa Pérez receiving a first dose of a Pfizer jab.
11 months later, after fully immunizing just under 85% of the eligible population and after requiring EU Digital Covid certificates for entry into nightclubs and indoor venues with dance floors, as well as, more recently, bars, restaurants, gyms, and nursing homes, obtaining a health pass still feels like an impossible feat for many people without CatSalut public health cards (TSI) who were vaccinated in Catalonia.
According to the EU, "national authorities are in charge of issuing the certificate," which "all EU citizens and their family members" as well as "non-EU nationals who are legally staying or residing in a Member State and have the right to travel to other Member States" are entitled to if they have been vaccinated, tested negative, or recovered from Covid-19.
Despite this, Catalan News has received dozens of messages from foreign residents, all of which follow a similar pattern: no luck getting a certificate despite requesting one, sometimes on multiple occasions and through different channels.
One reader even explained that she had traveled all the way to France, where she was able to get a booster shot with her Catalan 'justificant vacunal' document and was then given a French Covid-19 certificate that is valid across the EU! Others told us about how frustrating and costly it was to get tested and sometimes quarantine every time they had to travel for work or to visit friends and relatives.
When asked about this by Catalan News, the Catalan health department has either recommended seeking advice at primary care centers (CAPs) or found ways around directly answering the question at hand, such as by sending us a link to a website where proof of a negative test can be downloaded.
On Friday, however, they did tell us that people who were vaccinated in Catalonia but do not have health passes because they do not have CatSalut cards will be allowed in these establishments with their 'justificant vacunal' and ID — this document, however, is not necessarily valid for travel purposes.
And while Spain's health ministry can technically issue certificates for people with the Spanish government's digital certificate signature software, it has been unable to do so for many people in this situation, and months after the issue was first brought up it still says this data has not been sent over from Catalan health authorities.
What should I do if I'm in this situation?
In theory, you should be able to get your health pass in person at your local primary care center or the place where you were vaccinated, but we've received multiple reports from people complaining about not being able to do so.
Your safest bet would be to email CatSalut's Atenció Ciutadana (email@example.com) explaining your situation and providing them with your DNI/NIE/passport number and as much information as possible regarding when and where you vaccinated.
If this does not work after a few tries – you may have to insist with a few follow-up emails or calls to the 061 hotline – feel free to get in touch with Catalan News and we will see if we can assist you further.
Registering for CatSalut
Everyone who lives in Catalonia and is registered in a municipal 'padró' census is entitled to at least basic CatSalut public health coverage, which includes Covid-19 vaccinations.
Even if you've already been vaccinated and have private health insurance, it could be a good idea to request CatSalut coverage too in case you become eligible for booster shots down the line as well as to, hopefully, avoid future bureaucratic hiccoughs.
Once you are assigned a CIP – the number on CatSalut cards – you can apply for access to La Meva Salut, the website and app from which you can download Covid-19 certificates and other medical records.
If you receive your CIP number after you've already been vaccinated, however, your vaccination records may not automatically be available on La Meva Salut and you might have to get in touch with Atenció Ciutadana again to have them transferred.
On Thursday, shortly after the High Court greenlighted the use of Covid-19 certificates for bars, restaurants, gyms, and care homes, the La Meva Salut website and app were down, and on Friday health officials decided to delay the restriction until at least Monday due to ongoing technical issues.