The upcoming Hungarian vaccination certificate will not state the type of the given vaccine, according to an amendment to the relevant government decree issued on Saturday night.
The new regulation amends a decree issued on February 12th by removing the words “type of vaccine” from the text.
The reason for the change is not indicated but it is most likely connected to the fact that Hungary is the only EU country that has so far authorized the use of Russian Sputnik V and Chinese Sinopharm vaccines.
Although an official permit for those who have been vaccinated to travel freely within the EU has been in the focus of discussion between EU leaders, it is still unclear how and when it could arrive exactly.
Poland has already announced that it will not recognize any vaccine without the approval of the European Medicines Agency, and those inoculated with these vaccines will have to undergo a 14-day-long quarantine similar to those not vaccinated at all.
There are only three vaccines currently approved in the EU produced by Pfizer–BioNTech, AstraZeneca, and Moderna.
The Orbán government announced they will soon require immunity certificates for all persons who have recovered or been inoculated against the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, opposition parties slammed the government for the amendment in the regulation.
Socialist MEP István Ujhelyi has demanded immediate withdrawal of the government decree. Under the decree, not even the central registry should show which vaccine was provided, which Ujhelyi said was crucial in terms of side effects or later-emerging diseases.
Most European countries agree that they would only accept vaccines licensed by the European Medicines Agency, and Hungarians traveling abroad on business would face restrictions, Ujhelyi said, adding that Hungarians inoculated with EMA-approved vaccines would also be affected as their certificate would not indicate that fact.
Independent MEP Ákos Hadházy, a veterinarian by profession, has highlighted that even a dog’s vaccination document contains the type of vaccine used for inoculation.
Leftist-liberal opposition Democratic Coalition also lambasted the government for the decision to omit the information about the vaccine’s type and origin in the Hungarian certificate.
“This piece of information is crucial, one that would allow a Hungarian to travel to another country,” Balázs Barkóczi, the party’s spokesman said at an online press conference.
He noted that the European Commission’s president earlier said the EU needed a uniform “vaccination passport” with basic standard data issued by each member state.
Referring to DK led by Ferenc Gyurcsány, ruling Fidesz said in response: “The Gyurcsány party, while continuing to pursue its anti-vaccination campaign, is now also trying to create uncertainty around the vaccination certificate.” In a statement, Fidesz cited German Chancellor Angela Merkel as saying at a recent EU summit that EU member states would introduce vaccination certificates at the national level, and these would be valid throughout the EU.
Featured photo illustration by Tamás Vasvári/MTI