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Corona vaccine registration opens

December 10th, 2020

As the government opens the online registration platform for coronavirus vaccination, a left-wing pundit ponders the reasons why a majority of Hungarians do not want to get vaccinated.

According to a Publicus survey published in Népszava, more than half the Hungarian population reject coronavirus vaccination. In a previous poll published by Euronews in November, 47 per cent of Hungarians said that they would not sign up for the COVID vaccine. Publicus Institute found that in Hungary, 33-36 per cent would agree to use EU and US vaccines, but only 20 per cent of respondents would accept the Russian and Chinese vaccines.

On Azonnali, Gyula Hegyi attributes the high rate of anti-vaccination sentiment to extreme polarization, absence of national consensus and lack of trust in institutions. Hegyi, who served as an MP and MEP for the MSZP for more than a decade, recalls that the Hungarian public did not exhibit such a high level of distrust towards public institutions and experts even in 1960, when mandatory polio vaccination was introduced by the Communist regime. The left-wing commentator acknowledges that all political actors are responsible for the politicization of every issue including the coronavirus emergency measures, and other issues that should have been left to experts. At the same time, Hegyi notes that political parties often select experts who agree with them and support the party line. He goes on to accuse the Right in general and Prime Minister Orbán in particular of not missing any opportunity to polarize society, if it appears to serve their interests. As for anti-vaccination sentiments, Hegyi writes that public fear, suspicion and conspiracy attitudes are non-partisan problems for Hungary, but it is the primary responsibility of the government to combat them.