Most services in Hungary reopened on the first of May, but only people with an immunity card can use them. As these cards are automatically given after getting the first dose of the Covid vaccine, many people are deciding to skip their second shot. In response, the government has decided to introduce a regulation that would invalidate the cards of those who have not been fully vaccinated.
After Hungary reached four million vaccinated people, a wide range of services became available, but only for those who have vaccination certificates.
The plastic cards are granted to people who have already recovered from the coronavirus or have received at least the first dose of a vaccine.
Hotels, theaters, cinemas, libraries, gyms, fitness centers, swimming pools, and several other venues can only be visited by those having such cards.
These restrictions serve a dual purpose: to curb the spread of the virus, but also to incentivize people to get vaccinated.
However, the measure has been subject to a lot of criticism since its introduction.
Immunity certificates in Hungary are already given to those who have only received the first shot of a two-dose vaccine, usually sent out a week after getting the shot. This means that someone who is not yet fully protected can still use all of the services.
Another major problem is that many people only get vaccinated just to receive the privileges provided by the certificates, and once having them, they just simply skip their second Covid shot.
Although the government has not yet revealed how many people have missed their second inoculation appointment so far, they have pledged to work out a solution for the issue.
In the government’s weekly press briefing in early May, Gergely Gulyás, the prime minister’s chief of staff, noted that they were already working on a motion that would render an immunity certificate invalid should a person fail to get the second shot of a two-dose vaccine.
As the cards have a QR code printed on them, a QR code reader or even a smartphone can be used to retrieve information from Hungary’s central health database. Thus, all relevant information regarding the vaccination of a given person including the cards’ validity can be retrieved.
Gulyás also added that certain service providers like restaurants would be authorized to check the validity of the cards.
Featured photo by Attila Balázs/MTI