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Hungary to Only Accept Vaccine Certificates of Countries Which Reciprocate Authorization

Tamás Vaski 2021.03.05.

Hungary has modified the agreement European Union member states made on January 27 regarding the authorization of a vaccine certificate, reports leftist daily Népszava. No longer will the type of vaccine used in inoculation be shown on Hungarian “vaccine passports.” In defense of the government’s decision, Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office Gergely Gulyás has stated that the idea of there being any kind of official European Union decision around the new system of documentation is, as he puts it, “fake news.”

According to their initial agreement, those vaccinated against the coronavirus would receive a certification recognized throughout the union.

Based off initial EU discussions, aside from necessary personal details, the document would be required to include the type of vaccine used, the name of its producer, the number of doses administered, and the time and place of vaccination.

Last week, member states agreed that work must be continued for the development of the “vaccine passport,” and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen even stated that the digital system used to identify Europe’s various documents could be put into effect within three months.

Hungary in Disagreement With the EU

Despite former agreements, the Hungarian government modified the certification the next day, deciding that the type of vaccine used will not be a required detail.

The government’s decision is sure to cause complications in the development of the EU’s certification system, possibly increasing the time required to complete its development.

Hungarian Vaccination Certificate Omits Information of Vaccine Type
Hungarian Vaccination Certificate Omits Information of Vaccine Type

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 […]Continue reading

Commissioner von der Leyen has announced that the commission is planning on making legal recommendations within a month for the creation of the digital document.

PMO Chief Calls EU Decisions Fake News

When ATV asked Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office Gergely Gulyás about the European Commission requiring the type of vaccine to be included in the certificate, the minister said this information is “fake news.”

Gulyás stated that the EU does not currently have an official, multilateral agreement on the specifics of the vaccine certificate.

He reminded the press of German chancellor Angela Merkel’s statement that “national authorities will produce the certificate, which must be recognized everywhere throughout Europe.”

Vaccines Not Licensed by EU Could Complicate Vaccine Passport Development
Vaccines Not Licensed by EU Could Complicate Vaccine Passport Development

The European Council came together on Thursday to discuss the now widespread topic of an internationally recognized vaccine passport within the European Union. The task may prove complicated, since Hungary has begun using vaccines which are not recognized by the European Medicines Agency. While they have not come to an official decision, members agree that […]Continue reading

Adding to this, Gulyás said that countries must accept one another’s certificates based on reciprocity, and that if they do not, “then on the basis of reciprocity Hungary will not accept the certificates of countries which do not accept those of Hungary.”

Hungary Modifies its Vaccine Certificate

In Hungary, certifications of vaccination will no longer include the type of vaccine used, since the information is no longer legally required to be shared through the National eHealth Infrastructure (EESZT).

Fact

EESZT is a cloud-based interface connecting Hungary’s health care providers, pharmacies, and general population. Its role is to share patient data in a secure manner, allowing for “accurate diagnostics and more precisely targeted therapy.”

Hungary’s vaccination certificate was put into circulation on March first and has not yet been recognized throughout the EU. Whether the union will accept the certificate lacking the type of vaccine used, or will call on Hungary to print new documentation is yet to be determined.

Regardless of the “plastic card” certificate, the official document which family doctors gave their patients after vaccination contains the type of vaccine used for their inoculation.

Certificates Being Used but Not Recognized

Despite certificates being brought into use around Europe, there is no certainty around exactly what EU-wide authorization will involve. So far, however, it seems that the type of vaccine used will be an important detail.

The requirement would be logical, given the growing disconnect in the use of vaccines throughout Europe. Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary have all authorized or are planning to authorize vaccines which the European Medicines Agency has not yet allowed in the EU.

Vaccine Certificate to Be Required for Hungary’s Potential 2021 Festivals?
Vaccine Certificate to Be Required for Hungary’s Potential 2021 Festivals?

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The upcoming vaccine certificate debate between countries which license vaccines such as Sinopharm and Spuntik V, and those which remain true to the EU’s authorization procedures will definitely be worthy of attention. These disagreements could have a significant impact on the EU’s joint approach to the pandemic.

Featured photo illustration by Tamás Vasvári/MTI