- 28 Apr 2021 7:07 AM
Hungary's neighbour Serbia is offering free Covid vaccine shots to foreigners, reports France's international TV news network in the English language video below - also various other credible media report "Serbia is becoming a regional vaccination hub for foreigners".
Talk in expat circles here is that a trip to Serbia could be a good VAX solution - there they currently use Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Russia’s COVID-19 Sputnik V and Chinese Synopharm vaccines.
Some say the AstraZeneca shots that Serbia is giving foreigners are close to their expiration date, and need to be used as soon as possible, but that's an unverified claim. The Economist states, "Foreigners get AstraZeneca, possibly because many locals do not want it."
The fact is many people living in this Region have travelled to Serbia to successfully get a jab.
People can sign up online and turn up at any vaccination centre and, given the availability on the day, receive the vaccine very quickly, reports CNN.
On 27 March 2021 a statement was issued online from the Serbian 'Director of the Office for Information Technology and Electronic Administration' making it clear an appointment is needed,
"Foreign citizens with and without a stay in Serbia can express their interest in vaccination against COVID-19, after which they will receive an appointment.
He reiterated that (like) everyone else, if they do not have an appointment, will not be able to get vaccinated in our country."
Stating that Serbia will continue to welcome foreigners to get jabs, Serbia's President Vucic told CNN on Wednesday that, "His country did not take the vaccination as a geopolitical but rather an issue of saving lives".
Explaining why Serbia is doing this, Serbia’s Prime Minister spoke to CNN about the importance of offering foreigners support in the interests of Serbia's safety.
“We are also trying to support mostly the region. So our neighbouring countries... Even when we get the collective immunity, (in Serbia) we're not going to be safe (unless neighbouring countries are safe too),” PM Brnabic said.
Serbia has one of the highest inoculation rates in Europe, mainly due to that government's early purchases of China's Sinopharm vaccine and the Russian Sputnik V one, and thousands of vaccine-seekers have already flocked there to get vaccinated.
Daniel Bindernagel, a German psychiatrist from Switzerland, told Reuters he had travelled in and managed to apply for a shot on the Serbian government’s website.
“It’s very good for me,” he says, “I tried ... in Switzerland and Germany. I am a physician, but I could not.”
Expats can get vaccinated in Hungary only if they have a TAJ health number and also register at the official Hungarian vaccination registration website.
Some expats in Hungary are talking about following Daniel Bindernagel's example, as currently there are no private vaccination options in Hungary and many foreigners living here do not have an official TAJ number and so cannot register to get vaccinated against Covid in Hungary.
Expats here with a TAJ number should make sure they are also registered with a local GP (háziorvos) in order to help get a jab.
Many expats are not eligible for a Hungarian TAJ number, and so cannot get vaccinated here.
Worth noting is that when registering online for a jab in Hungary you cannot get a Covid vaccine by registering with a "dummy" TAJ number, nor should anyone attempt to do so as that's illegal.
Many expats who have a TAJ number and are registered with a local doctor in Hungary are still waiting for a jab.
Hence many are looking for ways to get vaccinated without further delay, and going to Serbia seems like an immediate option - we are not recommending that, and are just reporting the situation as it stands now - see the video below and this link for more info.
The information provided here is based on hours of research and is provided in good faith yet without any guarantees as per the usual liability policy. Any expat interested in this possibility can check the latest situation for themselves at the time of trying to register to get an appointment for vaccination in Serbia - as is required by the authorities there, as stated above.