The Ministry of Health of the Government of the Canary Islands yesterday revealed one of the unknowns of recent months, how to proceed with the entire foreign population residing in the Archipelago, a group made up of some 280,000 people, who had shown their concern and anger at not having them or adequately inform them of the procedure.
Health reported yesterday in a statement that in order to be vaccinated the foreign population residing in the Canary Islands over 60 years of age who do not have a health card must go through the Health Center closest to their residence carrying an identification document (passport) and certificate of residence in your Town Hall, to complete the registration process as a displaced person without an Individual Health Card, a procedure that once completed will allow you to enter the lists to receive any of the available vaccines, according to your age group: Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen or AstraZeneca.
During the last weeks DIARIO DE AVISOS tried to resolve this issue of foreign residents to the Ministry of Health and did not offer a clear answer in this regard. A spokesperson argued that in the foreign resident population without a health card, it would be the Ministry of Health that would indicate what to do, after carrying out several high-level consultations with other departments of the Central Executive and the main embassies of community and non-community countries with citizens in our country. In the country, some 5.8 million foreigners live in Spain, of which some 280,000 reside in the Archipelago, almost 15% of the 2.2 million inhabitants of the Canary Islands.
In addition, the difficulty is added that if they do not have a health card, it is difficult to identify them by the Ministry of Health and it would be necessary to see other records held by the administrations, for example, the list of inhabitants.
The Chief of the Epidemiology Section, Amos García, the most accurate in his answer, pointed out that “obviously, if foreigners residing in the Islands have a health card, they will be called in because we have them identified and located, and they will be vaccinated with all security. The problem occurs with those who do not have any type of health card, who have exclusively private insurance, and that is when the colleagues in Primary Care are unaware of its existence. Therefore, they have to contact the health center closest to their residence and indicate that they are living in the Islands to be vaccinated, as well as in what health conditions they are ”.
The official census of the ISTAC of 2019 that gave a population in our Archipelago of 2,153,389 people, of which 277,034 were foreigners. The largest group is Italians with 45,405 residents, followed by Germans with 25,946, British with 24,980 people, followed by Moroccans and Sahrawis with 17,136 individuals; Venezuelans with 12,396, Cubans with 11,284, as well as Colombians with 10,702 registered individuals and of Chinese nationality with 10,303.
Discrimination, unfair treatment even for European Union health card holders
Several Italian, British and German citizens residing in Tenerife have addressed the DIARIO DE NOTICE in recent weeks, expressing their discomfort at the scant information they received regarding vaccination from the Canary Islands health authorities.
A 65-year-old citizen of Swedish nationality stated that he felt “discriminated against”. With a health card from the European Union and registered at the Los Cristianos Health Center, he relates that he tried to obtain information on when he could be vaccinated in Tenerife. After several calls to telephone 012 and visits to the Health Center, the only answer I got is that the Government of the Canary Islands “had not sent the authorization.” In other words, “they should not vaccinate international people at the moment, even if they are holders of the EU card”, which he considered “clear discrimination”, and acknowledged that he knew British, German or Italian compatriots and friends, even those over 80 years of age, they still did not have the vaccine.
On the other hand, a group of Italian citizens residing in Puerto de la Cruz told DIARIO that they feel “abandoned“And they did not understand the”unfair treatment“Who suffered when they saw how the group over 80 years old had already been vaccinated and, nevertheless, they were outside the vaccination plan, they felt”forgotten“By the health authorities and regretted that” they did not offer information. “
They claimed to live a “real nightmare” and a situation that they described as very serious and almost xenophobic “. As older people, they point out that they have a “high risk of ending up in hospital” if they were infected and “occupy an ICU place”. Some colleagues have even chosen to return to their countries to be vaccinated and the majority declare that they feel “forgotten by the Canary Islands and Tenerife Health” and live in great fear “, which is why they demand an” urgent solution “to their problem. “We are European citizens, most of us retired, and we do not deserve this treatment”, to end by demanding: “That we get vaccinated as soon as possible!”