Advice and guidance for healthcare practitioners on the health needs of migrant patients.
No charges for coronavirus (COVID-19) testing, treatment and vaccination
Overseas visitors to England, including anyone living in the UK without permission, will not be charged for:
- testing for COVID-19 (even if the test shows they do not have COVID-19)
- treatment for COVID-19, including for a related problem called multisystem inflammatory syndrome that affects some children
- vaccination against COVID-19
No immigration checks are needed for overseas visitors if they are only tested, treated or vaccinated for COVID-19.
Charges for hospital treatment of secondary and subsequent illness
While COVID-19 testing and treatment is exempt from charges, this exemption is not intended to cover hospital treatment of any secondary or subsequent illness. Secondary or subsequent illness refers to:
- conditions or complications which arise from the initial COVID-19 infection, including long COVID
- any co-existing conditions a patient may have
These conditions remain chargeable. Under the Charging Regulations, the duty is on NHS Trusts to assess, based on the views of clinicians, what treatment for COVID-19 is exempt or chargeable.
Accessing COVID-19 vaccination without an NHS number
Individuals do not require an NHS number or GP registration to receive the COVID-19 vaccination and should not be denied vaccination on this basis. Individuals who do not have an NHS number or are not registered with a GP are still entitled to free COVID-19 vaccinations.
While registration with a GP is encouraged to access the vaccine, individuals can access walk-in vaccinations or request to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments as an unregistered patient through a local GP practice.
Local outreach services are available in some areas to provide COVID-19 vaccination to those who are eligible but have difficulties accessing vaccination.
If an individual has an NHS number, they can find it through this online tool.
Doctors of the World, in partnership with the British Red Cross, has produced translated animated videos with key information on how to register with a GP and book COVID-19 vaccines.
NHS England and NHS Improvement have created a letter to help people without an NHS number access the COVID-19 vaccine and register with a GP. The letter is available in 25 languages and can be shared with service users and service providers.
If someone is denied care because they do not have an NHS number, they can contact NHS England’s customer contact centre.
COVID-19 translated advice and guidance
The above guidance onhas been translated into 40 different languages by the Department of Health and Social Care.
The following resources are also available in various languages:
- how to stay safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19
- guidance for households with possible COVID-19 infection
- guidance for contacts of people with possible or confirmed COVID-19 infections who do not live with the person
- COVID-19 PCR home test kit instructions
- what your NHS COVID Pass letter tells you
- booking a COVID-19 vaccine appointment letter
- how to register with a GP and book COVID-19 vaccines
- what to expect after your vaccination
- COVID-19 vaccination: guide for older adults, and guide to phase 2 of the COVID-19 vaccination programme
- COVID-19 vaccination: a guide for all women of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding
- COVID-19 vaccination and blood clotting
- COVID-19 vaccination information
- information for shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19
The following translated resources may not have been updated since changes to government guidance on 19 July 2021:
- Doctors of the World UK’s translated COVID-19 resources informed by government and NHS advice
- the Mayor of London and London Assembly guidance on COVID-19
- The International Organization for Migration’s COVID-19 Migrant Information Service, which provides multilingual information on COVID-19 measures and support in the UK context. The aim is to support migrants who may face language barriers when reading complex information. The information, which is available in 5 languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic and Romanian, relates to 5 important areas of everyday life that have been significantly affected by COVID-19, including health, employment, benefits, housing and immigration.
The British Society for Immunology has translated some public engagement resources, including infographics, that explain how vaccines work and answer common questions about COVID-19 vaccines.
COVID-19 general advice and guidance
Health information and advice about COVID-19 is available on the NHS website.
COVID-19 guidance for providers of accommodation for asylum seekers
Public Health England (PHE) has produced COVID-19 guidance for providers of accommodation for asylum seekers. It is aimed at all staff involved in providing support to asylum seekers in all accommodation settings.
Overseas travel advice during the COVID-19 pandemic
Find out the latest government advice on travelling abroad, including the latest information on coronavirus, safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings.
The NaTHNaC (National Travel Health Network and Centre) also provides up to date overseas travel health information.
Mental health during the pandemic
A World Health Organization report published in December 2020 found that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a highly negative impact on the living and working conditions of migrants, particularly in terms of housing and access to other basic services. This is compounded by limited access to multilingual information and exclusion. It increases the risk of depression, anxiety, fear and loneliness.
Refer to the migrant health guide mental health page for information on supporting migrants’ mental health and wellbeing.
Many undocumented migrants do not seek healthcare, including for COVID-19, due to fear of data sharing and deportation and concerns about charging. Ensure that they are provided with information about no charges for COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccination.
There have been some reports about vitamin D potentially reducing the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19). NICE (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence), PHE and the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition have undertaken robust assessments of the available evidence on vitamin D and COVID-19. They have concluded that currently, there is not enough evidence to solely treat or prevent COVID-19, except as part of a clinical trial. For further information, see the NICE COVID-19 rapid guideline on vitamin D.
In addition to existing guidance on vitamin D supplementation, adults, young people and children over 4 years should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms (400 units) of vitamin D throughout the year if they have little or no sunshine exposure because they are spending most of their time indoors during the COVID-19 pandemic.