Tuesday, May 25, 2021

EU Member States Will Recognise All Hungarian Vaccination Certificates, Justice Minister Says

The 27 country members of the European Union will recognise Hungarian vaccination certificates, the Justice Minister, Judit Varga, said on Friday.

“Common sense has won again. The European Parliament was forced to give up its absurd demands on EU Digital Covid Certificates last night; hence the agreement reached yesterday now allows the Member States to recognise any vaccine,” Minister Varga wrote on her personal Facebook account.

She also said that the government’s priority is to ensure the free movement of Hungarians, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

In February, Hungary decided to issue immunity certificates for citizens who have recovered or received both doses of vaccine against COVID-19. The certificate expiry date wasn’t to be set since there wasn’t enough information on how long the immunity lasts after being vaccinated, the Hungarian Head of Prime Minister Office, Gergely Gulyas, had noted.

However, the idea of launching these health passes or vaccination passports has sparked many discussions between European countries.

Although some EU countries have supported the plan to ease out travelling by issuing vaccination certificates, the World Health Organization Committee (WHO) disagreed with the idea of immunity certificates since the vaccine’s efficiency to reduce transmission possibilities was yet to be determined.

“Being vaccinated should not exempt international travellers from complying with other travel risk reduction measures,”  the WHO noted during its January 14 meeting.

On the other hand, numerous countries, including  Cyprus, Denmark, Czechia, Greece, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Iceland, Portugal, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden and Spain, have supported the act, believing the document would ease out the process of travelling and allow for people to travel freely across Europe.

The European citizens are expected to start travelling on July 1, after the Council, and the European Parliament reached an agreement to facilitate COVID-19 passports on May 20. The Council of the EU will send a letter to the European Parliament to communicate the Council’s Permanent Representatives Committee’s (Coreper) support for the COVID-19 passport establishment. Following the move, the Parliament is expected to vote on the matter at its plenary session on June 7 to 10.

Previously, Hungary announced that they would conclude a bilateral agreement with every government that will support the vaccination passport and will allow for Hungarian citizens to travel without undergoing redundant quarantine requirements. Hungary has already reached such agreements with Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia, and Bahrain.

Following the move, Turkey too decided to recognise Hungarian immunity certificates beginning on May 11. All vaccination documents of Hungary holders will enjoy the same rights as the immunity certificate holders of another partner country.

Currently, Hungary has 101,537 COVID-19 active cases, with 29,581 deaths and 671,392 patients who have recovered, marking a total of 802,510 cases ever since the pandemic started.

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