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Obudsman: Corrections to Hungary’s Immunity Certificate May Be Justified

MTI-Hungary Today 2021.05.14.

The current regulations on immunity certificates are not objectionable as a whole but certain corrections may be justified from a constitutional perspective, the ombudsman for fundamental rights said late Thursday evening.

The ombudsman’s office said it had received over eight hundred complaints in connection with the immunity certificates in a few days.

Ákos Kozma said that after reviewing these complaints he had submitted proposals to the interior minister and the human resources minister.

Covid vaccination is not mandatory in Hungary but legal regulations encourage citizens to receive vaccination, Kozma said. This is not objectionable from a constitutional perspective as long as enough vaccines are available for the entire population and it is exclusively up to the individuals to take or reject the vaccine, he added.

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Current regulations require Hungarians to hold vaccination certificates if they want to attend various sports and cultural events, use indoor areas of restaurants or stay in commercial accommodations as guests. Kozma said that during a pandemic it is not illogical to set conditions for access to certain services.

It is the government’s task and responsibility that the certificates should be issued once full immunity develops, he said. Some might request the vaccination for “pragmatic reasons”, purely to acquire a certificate and skip the second jab. He said that he had proposed a review of the regulations on the issuance of certificates.

The validity of the certificates must be specified in a way that reflects the most likely immunity period and the government should continually review whether the relevant regulations need to be updated, he said.

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Kozma also said that people who could not get vaccinated for health reasons should not be required to hold an immunity certificate in order to access certain rights.

Additionally, he said that persons inoculated abroad against Covid should be ensured the same rights as Hungarian holders of immunity certificates and legislators should find a way to ensure this.

Featured photo illustration by György Varga/MTI