Starting on May 19th, the owners of Austria’s new immunity cards will be granted special privileges, enabling them to visit restaurants, hotels, beaches, and other public institutions.Continue reading
Travel opportunities for vaccinated Hungarians are appearing increasingly complicated, not only because of the system developed around Hungary’s immunity certificates, but because of other countries’ conditions for entry. In the government’s most recent press conference, Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office Gergely Gulyás addressed many of these concerns.
Austria has announced that it is allowing quarantine-free travel to a number of countries, among them Hungary, where there are no longer a high number of people infected with the coronavirus. However, it is allegedly only accepting immunized individuals who were vaccinated with vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or the World Health Organization (WHO).
Many people have been inoculated in Hungary with the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, the only vaccine in Hungary which has yet to be approved by EMA or WHO. This is an issue for many Hungarians who may wish to travel to Austria in the near future.
According to Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office Gergely Gulyás, the official Austrian statement and the communications of its health minister differ from one another. On their website, Gulyás says, immunity is set forth as a requirement, but their health minister, Wolgang Mückstein, said that these vaccines must be authorized by WHO or EMA.
Referring to Sputnik V, the minister said that “it would be weird if the vaccine we have tested as the most effective would not be accepted by the Austrians, naturally we will be negotiating with the Austrian government.” Gulyás believes EU member states vaccination rates are holding them back from creating a universal EU-wide “green certificate.”
Since European countries, with regard to vaccinations, have not gotten as far as Hungary, in their case, opportunities for travel are becoming available much more slowly.”
The minister was also asked where Hungarians will be able to travel with their immunity certificates, to which he said that bilateral agreements between Hungary and a number of other countries already make travel possible. He expects that Southern European nations, where Hungarians often travel, will soon all be open for tourism.
There have already been issues raised regarding travel, after, despite accepting Hungarian immunity certificates, countries such as Romania and Croatia had to clarify that quarantine-free travel is only available if individuals have been received both their inoculations.
Only first vaccinations are shown on the Hungarian immunity certificate. In order to see details on second inoculations, one needs to download the QR code reader for the National eHealth Infrastructure app, which will show when the individual received their second inoculation.
Gulyás was asked whether this immunity certification application would be accepted at other countries’ borders, to which he responded that the Hungarian government hopes they will, and that the government’s ruling on this will be modified to allow for such travel.
The minister said that if a country has already made an agreement to accept Hungarian immunity certificates, it will no doubt accept immunity certificate applications as well.
At the end of the press conference, Euronews asked Gulyás about other countries requiring more details for travel than what the Hungarian immunity certificate provides. Greece, for example, requires people to prove the type of vaccine, the number of inoculations, and the dates of inoculation.
The minister responded, once again, that the immunity certificate application will prove all these, and if changes are necessary the government will enact them within a few days.
It is not confirmed whether the countries Hungary makes travel agreements with will accept the immunity application, and the situation overall seems uncertain. Time will tell how the various approaches to immunity certificate travel pan out.
Featured photo illustration by Zoltán Balogh/MTI