A strong vaccination campaign has been underway in Hungary for several months now, with the aim of immunizing the majority of the population against COVID-19. The campaign, initially aimed at Hungarian citizens and then also open to foreigners residing and not in the country, led to the establishment of an Immunity card: a document, issued by the State, which allows to distinguish between vaccinated and non-vaccinated citizens. The controversies have been different, right from the start, since this system ends up, willy-nilly, to further increase discrimination and differences, during a very delicate period, especially on a social level. The immunity card allows access to places of public interest, such as museums and cinemas, but also inside bars and restaurants, making it impossible for those who do not have it to visit an art gallery or eat inside even in bad weather. Many are those who have complained, and the general feeling was that of confusion and disappointment: even wanting to obtain the immunity card, the system quickly went into crisis and many are those who have requested it but never receive it.
In the case of foreigners in Hungarian territory, the situation is, if possible, even worse: without a national health number, obtaining the vaccine was problematic and complex right from the start, and even when some managed to obtain it, the request for documentation it turned out to be quite complex and in some cases, especially at the beginning, unsuccessful. Beyond the lines of hours at public offices, there are not a few foreigners who have seen themselves bouncing between one office and another, without even being able to get the answers they wanted.
In the last month the system is returning to be more efficient, and even with some difficulty obtaining the vaccine is easier for everyone, including foreigners.
The government announced on 2 July the official achievement of 5.5 million vaccinated, which led to a new change in the regulations in the area, with the transfer of the obligation of the mask in public places and the end of the obligation to show immunity card to eat in restaurants or in public events with reduced capacity (under 500 people). Although the obligation to show the documentation at the entrance of some museums and cinemas is still active, the decision has aroused several questions, especially from those who think that now the interest in the vaccine will drop drastically: in recent months it had already been shown how many people stopped at the first dose, enough to get the immunity card, without going further.
It is certainly difficult to establish the dividing line between right and wrong, but it is certainly evident how many people, especially foreigners, have ended up feeling excluded and discriminated against by a malfunctioning system and unable to protect them. The hope of many now is that this easing of security measures will not lead to lowering the guard too much, causing a new rise in cases and consequent new lockdowns.
Hungary has never really come to a complete closure, except in the first months of 2021, and the country's health system is not stable enough to provide assistance even in the event of a new pandemic peak but for the moment the attention still seems high, especially in the case of the most crowded events, such as sporting events or festivals that are popular throughout the country during the summer.