Vaccinations in Germany

Vaccinations are part of standard healthcare in Germany. In fact, Germany recently introduced a law requiring children to be vaccinated against measles before they can attend kindergarten or school. As an expat, what do you need to know about vaccinations?

Vaccination advice in Germany

The Standing Committee on Vaccination, also known as STIKO, is an independent panel of experts that publishes information on vaccinations in Germany. This defines the vaccinations covered by public (statutory) health insurance and allows the public to make an informed decision.

The STIKO is a department of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) – the government agency responsible for monitoring contagious diseases and issuing guidelines for the vaccination system in Germany. It also provides advice on vaccinations for German residents traveling abroad (known as Reiseimpfungen).

What vaccines are covered?

Vaccinations recommended by the STIKO are covered by all health insurance providers, whether public or private. These include:

  • MMR vaccine (against measles, mumps, and rubella)
  • Hepatitis vaccine
  • Flu vaccine for people in risk groups, including pregnant women, over 60s, and people with immunodeficiencies

Does private health insurance cover more vaccinations?

Sometimes, yes! By law, public health insurance is required to focus on cost-efficiency, which means most public insurance providers only provide required vaccinations as specified by the STIKO. This means, for example, that public health insurance providers do not typically cover vaccinations for foreign travel.

Not all private insurance policies are equal, and you should take time to scrutinize the cover offered in detail. However, as a general rule, private health insurance providers have the freedom to offer a wider range of treatments and services than public insurers.

At ottonova, we keep things simple. We cover all travel vaccinations recommended by the RKI – including in our special expat tariff.

If you are a regular traveler, you might also find it helpful to check out our guide to travel insurance.

FAQ

Do you help me finding an English-speaking doctor?

Of course! Through our ottonova Concierge Service we can book appointments for you. You just easily write us a message with your requirements, and we will find the best option for you. 

How is the payment working? Different than public insurance?

The payment is different than in the public system. With private health insurance you pay the full tariff to us at the beginning of the month. If you are employed your employer will contribute their part to your health insurance through your salary.

Can I go to every doctor or only to “ottonova doctors”?

As a private patient with ottonova you can go to any doctor of your choice. For dental treatments i.e implants or crowns (Zahnersatz) we provide a higher coverage if you choose a dentist from our ottonova network. 

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