Hungary has contracted some 12 million doses of coronavirus vaccine, Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, told a regular press conference on Thursday.
The government has a duty to procure as quickly as possible any vaccine that has been duly tested and proven to be effective, and so it is in talks with “every entity” potentially able to provide it, Gulyás said.
Apart from Chinese and Russian vaccines, Hungary now has the possibility to procure some 12 million doses from three manufacturers, he said. They will be ordered and paid for as soon as it is possible, he added.
Regarding the coronavirus vaccine, Gulyás said Hungary has contracted altogether 12 million doses, costing 36 billion forints (EUR 99.6m), from three manufacturers.
Fully 3,270,000 doses are contracted from British AstraZeneca, 4,360,000 doses from US company Janssen and 4,439,000 doses from Pfizer in addition to potential Chinese and Russian vaccine purchases now under negotiation, he said.
The government has a duty to procure any vaccine that has been duly tested and proven to be effective as quickly as possible, and so it is in talks with “every entity” potentially able to provide it, including the EU, Israel, the US, China and Russia, he said.
Hungary is set to begin testing certain essential workers for coronavirus on a regular basis on Friday, Gulyás has said, adding that the staff of social care homes will be the first to be tested.
The government last week decided that health-care workers, teachers and staff members of social institutions will be tested on a regular basis determined by the operative board responsible for handling the epidemic, Gulyás noted.
Testing will be voluntary, he added, emphasising that no one could be obligated to take the test.
Testing is scheduled to get under way in schools, kindergartens, creches and health-care institutions next Monday, Gulyás said.
LATEST NUMBERS: Coronavirus in Hungary: over 121,000 active infections
The opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) has called on the government not to conduct “human experiments” on Hungarians with Russia’s coronavirus vaccine.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday, DK spokesman Balázs Barkóczi cited Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó as saying that Hungary was set to become the first European country to receive a sample of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine.
“This is no accident, given that no other country would ever consider conducting experiments on its own citizens,” Barkóczi said.
“Researchers around the world are saying that not even they would want to be administered a vaccine that has never undergone mass trials and not just because several Russian test subjects ended up contracting the virus despite receiving the vaccine,” he said.
Barkóczi warned the government not to “want Hungary to become a testing lab of Vladimir Putin’s Russia”.
Hungarians should only be given a vaccine that has been approved by the European authorities and whose effectiveness and potential side effects are known, he added.