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Mixed reactions in Hungary to plans to use Russian and Chinese Covid jabs

January 28th, 2021

A Fidesz MP says Hungary is ahead of the rest of the EU in its efforts to seek additional vaccines, since reaching herd immunity would otherwise take years.

In Magyar Nemzet, Máriusz Révész admits that the Chinese vaccine represents conventional technology and he himself would prefer to be inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Coronavirus, on offer in Hungary since 26 December. However, if he had to choose between being vaccinated with the Chinese Sinovac in the spring or with the Pfizer product in the autumn, he wouldn’t hesitate to take the first option. Meanwhile, Sinovac hasn’t yet been approved by the Hungarian authorities. The Russian Sputnik V has received preliminary approval from the National Institute of Pharmacy and Nutrition (OGYEI), while critical media have raised doubts about its quality. Népszava claims that the vaccines tested by the Hungarian laboratories are not fully identical to the ones supplied by mass production. The first 6,000 ampoules of the Russian vaccine, which comes in two non-identical doses, arrived in Hungary on 28 December, and will be used in Phase 3 clinical trials in hospitals. Further two million doses, enough to vaccinate one million people, will be delivered to Hungary in February. There are also plans to produce the Sputnik V vaccine in Hungary. Révész accuses the Left of undermining public confidence toward vaccination. If the vaccination campaign proceeds at its current rate, Révész writes, it would take Hungary over three years to reach herd immunity and therefore lift restrictions. With the new, more contagious strains of the virus, he adds, vaccination is becoming even more urgent, in order to save lives and limit the impact of the pandemic. Révész is convinced that Hungary’s example will soon be followed by other European countries.

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