Free access to health care for beneficiaries of international protection is provided under the same conditions as for nationals, pursuant to L 4368/2016. The new International Protection Act has not changed the relevant provisions. Despite the favourable legal framework, actual access to health care services is hindered in practice by significant shortages of resources and capacity for both foreigners and the local population, as a result of the austerity policies followed in Greece, as well as the lack of adequate cultural mediators. “The public health sector, which has been severely affected by successive austerity measures, is under extreme pressure and lacks the capacity to cover all the needs for health care services, be it of the local population or of migrants”. Moreover, administrative obstacles with regard to the issuance of a Social Security Number (AMKA) also impede access to health care. In addition, according to GCR’s experience, beneficiaries of international protection under the “old” system who possess the “old” residence permit in the form of a “booklet”, have encountered problems in the issuance of AMKA, as this old residence permit contains a number written in a different format than the new residence permits. Hence, the employees at the Citizen Service Centre (KEΠ) did not know how to process the issuance of AMKA. Finally, it has been clarified that this will happen at the offices of the Single Social Security Entity (ΕΦΚΑ).
Lastly a new Ministerial Decision that came into effect on 16 March 2022 provides that the prescription of medicines, therapeutic operations and diagnostic examinations for patients without health insurance will be possible, only by doctors of public hospitals and Primary Health Care structures. This Ministerial Decision will affect the vast majority of beneficiaries of international protection, since most of them do not have health insurance and will therefore no longer be able to visit private doctors .
As regards COVID-19 vaccination, beneficiaries of international protection are entitled to vaccines similarly to Greek citizen, provided that they have a social security number (AMKA) and that they are registered into the Greek tax statement system (TAXISNET). There are no statistics available on the number of beneficiaries of international protection that have been vaccinated so far.
 Article 31(2) IPA.
 Council of Europe, Report by Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic following her visit to Greece from 25 to 29 June 2018, CommDH(2018)24, 6 November 2018, https://bit.ly/3MziWTJ, para 40.
 Ministerial Decision 12184/2022 Gov. Gazette 899/B/28.2.2022.