New US travel rules pose difficulties for Hungarians


(7 Nov 2021) Some Hungarians eager to travel to the U.S. have been left disappointed after new rules which take effect Monday mean tourists vaccinated with the Russian Sputnik V jab won’t be allowed entry.
The U.S. will accept any vaccine approved for regular or emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization.
That includes Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and China’s Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines – but not Sputnik V.
Sputnik V is used in some 70 countries worldwide, and almost one million people have received it in Hungary, a Central European nation with a population of 10 million.
It was the only country in the European Union to roll out the vaccine besides Slovakia, where fewer than 20,000 people received it.
President of the Association of Hungarian Travel Agencies Judit Molnár said she was seeing the impact of the restriction on her industry.
“Obviously those passengers who have received the Sputnik vaccine are not happy about the measures as they are unable to travel at the moment,” she said. “These travelers are saying they really hope the situation will change and that the United States will accept the Sputnik vaccine.”
Budapest resident Ákos István Sipos said he believed he was doing the right thing when he accepted the Sputnik V jab rather than wait for another in April, when the pandemic was raging.
“I thought I’d ask for the Sputnik quicky because people were dying en masse,” he said. “I couldn’t have known at that time that I wouldn’t be able to travel.”
Russia, which unveiled Sputnik V with much fanfare as the world’s first registered vaccine in August 2020, has criticized U.S. plans to leave it off its list of approved shots.
The WHO is still reviewing the vaccine, and months of holdups have meant that it remains uncertain when it might receive an emergency use listing.

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