The government has decided that Hungary will not take part in the "next chapter" of vaccine procurement organized by the EU, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff announced at an online press conference.
Gergely Gulyás said that Hungary had already ordered more than 10 million coronavirus vaccines to be delivered by the end of 2022. The vaccination program is expected to slow down considerably once 5 million people have received the jab, even more so than after 4 million. “We may reach the 5.5 million mark, or if we’re very optimistic, perhaps 6 million,” the minister said.
Hungary has more than 10 million doses of western vaccines at its disposal,
so everyone can be revaccinated if a third jab becomes necessary; and eastern vaccines are also available.
Although there are different professional opinions, each vaccine provides immunity for at least 9 months, he said, and pointed out that within the European Union procurement project
Hungary would be expected to order and pay for 19 million doses of Pfizer vaccines, regardless of whether they are necessary or not.
Hungary cannot take part in this "120 billion adventure", partly because it is expected to be able to produce a sufficient amount of own vaccines in the new factory in Debrecen from the second half of 2022.
"Of course, Hungary acknowledges that the European Union has a common vaccine procurement program, and we hope that it will go more smoothly than in the first phase; we wish all success to everyone involved, but
we have accumulated enough reserves," Gergely Gulyás pointed out.
He explained that one of the reasons for the slowdown in the vaccination program was that a third or half of those registered for vaccination have already received an immunity certificate because of their previous infection. Later on, they’re likely to get themselves vaccinated, but “they’re not in a hurry,” he said.
The minister underlined that the special legal order will only last as long as it is absolutely necessary after the current, third wave of the epidemic.
At the same time, he pointed out that vaccination in the rest of Europe has not yet reached the same level as in Hungary, so the risk of infection is significantly higher there.
He also noted that although the Indian variant had not yet appeared in Hungary, there is a chance that it would.
Therefore, the government can lift some of the epidemiological restrictions for everyone, but some other restrictions only for those who are immunized.