The most relevant facts at a glance:
- All international students with a German registration certificate or German health insurance will be eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine once mass vaccinations begin.
- The vaccines are free of charge and all costs will be covered by the German government.
- There are around 500 vaccination centres across all 16 federal states.
- According to assumptions by the ministries, everyone in Germany will be eligible to get vaccinated in summer 2021.
The COVID-19 situation had a major impact on the mobility of international students. Limited services from visa offices, diminishing financial resources, travel restrictions and the respect of being abroad in an unknown health system in times of health crisis are still major obstacles at the moment.
However, things are taking a turn for the better and with the speed-up in the vaccination process in sight, international students are resuming their plans and dreams of studying in Germany. In the following, we give you an overview of the current situation and inform you about your medical coverage through the German health insurance system during the pandemic.
How far has Germany progressed with coronavirus vaccination?
There are many safety measures in place in order to prevent COVID-infections in Germany.
The government now also has increased the availability of tests so that, free quick tests will be made widely available. Since March, it has already been possible to buy tests in supermarkets and to get tested free of charge once a week in pharmacies. While Germany is one of the safest countries to come to during Corona times it currently still shows some constraints in their vaccination progress. In December, the EU Commission approved the vaccine from BioNTech/Pfizer, followed by the approval of the vaccine from Moderna in January. AstraZeneca’s vaccine has been licensed in the EU since the end of January. So far, almost 6 million people have received their first vaccination in Germany. Due to the still limited supply of the vaccine, delays in the procurement of the vaccine and the division of those to be vaccinated into different groups, the vaccination in Germany is still in an early phase.
Nonetheless, developments are speeding up quickly with an additional vaccine by Johnson & Johnson expected to be given approval in March. Many experts expect the rate of vaccination to increase markedly in April and beyond. Additionally, general practitioners (GPs) are expected to be given permission to administer vaccinations in April so that vaccination is not limited to specially established vaccination centres. With around 50,000 doctors’ practices prepared to join the vaccine programme, that step could give the rollout a significant boost. The head of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance believes it is possible to vaccinate 20 million people per month in Germany from April – and bring forward the deadline for offering all adults a vaccine by September with the first dose for all adults potentially being offered by the first half of June, and full immunisation by the beginning of August.
How can I get vaccinated as an international student in Germany?
As an international student already being in Germany or planning to come here to study, you might ask yourself if you are eligible to receive the vaccination, how costs are covered and how the process will look like.
The vaccination at the vaccination centres is free of charge for all people living in Germany. This will mean that if you have a German registration certificate or are insured with German health insurance, you can automatically get a free COVID-19-vaccination in Germany as soon as it is your turn to be vaccinated. Unless you belong to groups 1-3 (elderly, medical staff, people with pre-existing conditions), you will be part of group 4 (without priority) and will receive a vaccination offer as soon as it is released by the government. Then you have the option to either receive your appointment via telephone by calling 116117 or you can then register via this page https://www.impfterminservice.de/impftermine by selecting the province in which you reside. In case you belong to the other groups and you are registered in Germany, then you can already schedule an appointment before with the link or by calling the hotline. There is also a free number with English information available now 0800 0000 837, answering all questions around vaccination, without serving an appointment service for vaccines, this is only possible online or through the number 116117.
Vaccinations take place in two different ways. Initial mass vaccination is done via countrywide vaccination centres. Parallel to that vaccinations through the local doctors are being conducted. In general, you do not have to pay for the COVID-19 vaccination. It is free of charge for the general public – regardless of whether and how you are insured and where you get vaccinated. The federal government procures, distributes and finances all vaccines used in Germany – including in doctors’ surgeries.
On the website of the German Ministry of Health, you can find daily updated information and recommendations on handling the Coronavirus. It also includes information regarding the protection from infection and tips for domestic quarantine.
You can also find more information on that topic in our help centre.