The Hungarian government aims to vaccinate as many people as it can and has managed to reach the magical number of 2.5 million people who have received at least their first coronavirus jab. This was the margin after which Orbán said that the country could start to gradually reopen, but schools will not be open until later in April.
To help education get back to its normal state, the Hungarian government has prioritised the vaccination of teachers. There are still questions about whether their immunity could develop in such a short time before the reopening of schools, but it is certainly something that was a necessary step in the direction of restoring the pre-COVID operation of schools.
According to Hvg, Viktor Orbán said in a radio interview that he had asked the Operational Board, which is a collection of experts who help the Hungarian government make decisions about the coronavirus and the threats posed by it,
whether children between the ages of 16 and 18 can be vaccinated, and if so, which vaccine is eligible.
Hvg says that from the five different vaccines Hungary currently uses, only one can be given to those between the ages of 16 and 18: the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. It was the
European Medicines Agency (EMA) that stated that mRNS-based vaccines can be safely administered to the mentioned age group, while the AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines are only allowed to be given to people over 18.
EMA still did not declare anything about the Sinopharm and Sputnik V vaccines in this regard. However, as the research phases of these and newer vaccines continue, the tests might show that they are safe to be administered to the younger age group.
The main difference is that Pfizer-BioNTech has conducted tests with this age group from the start, so they have proven that their vaccine can be safely given to people older than 16.
It seems that the company has conducted research with even younger children since then, and they said that their vaccine performed even better when administered to children between 12 and 15. The company has carefully examined the test results of 2,260 children, half of whom received the vaccine and did not show any signs of contracting the coronavirus, while 18 children from the control group got infected by the coronavirus. The company also aims to test their product on even younger children.
Although in Hungary, the age group between 16 and 18 is quite small, with only 192,000 Hungarians, it could be important to vaccinate them for several reasons.
Firstly, the Hungarian government aims to organise the graduation exams in the normal written and oral forms, so the preferential vaccination of this age group can mitigate the chances of the students getting infected. The other main reason is that this young age group tends to be the most active, and it could greatly reduce the spread of the virus if they have immunity, says Hvg.