Immunisation Certificates played a big role in the previous wave of COVID-19 pandemic in Hungary. They were issued as a supplementary certificate to confirm that the cardholder had a positive COVID test or got at least the first shot of any of the available vaccines. At many stages of the pandemic, cardholders enjoyed specific privileges compared to the others (i.e. card was asked at many places that had an indoor room, such as theatres, cinemas, restaurants etc.). Even though the European COVID passport became available from 1 July 2021 among the EU, it is only issued for persons, who got an EU-approved vaccine. Since Hungary choose to vaccinate with non-EU-approved vaccines, the dichotomy of the certificates still remains.
In June 2021 almost 1000 person joined an application that was submitted to the Hungarian Constitutional Court. They argued that the Hungarian State violated non-discriminatory rules when it granted special privileges to owners of immunisation certificates. They argued furthermore that there were many among the ones who refused to vaccinate, who could, out of health considerations, not get vaccinated and such regulations are discriminatory.
The Constitutional Court rejected these applications on two bases. Firstly, according to the Fundamental Law of Hungary fundamental rights can be restricted in a State of Danger and the restrictions in question were introduced for a legitimate goal, namely the battling of the pandemic and the reduction of economical, health and safety consequences.
The second ground, on the basis of which the submissions were rejected is the right for self-determination. In this question the Constitutional Court held that since the vaccination was not mandatory, there was no violation of the right for self-determination.
Based on the above the Constitutional Court rejected the thousand applications. The decision was issued on 5 October 2021 and is final after being published in the Hungarian Official Gazette.
By Levente Csengery, Partner, KCG Partners Law Firm