Hungary is the only European Union member state that is not struggling with a shortage of Covid-19 vaccines, but rather has more jabs available than people registering to get inoculated, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in an interview to public radio on Friday.
Altogether 54 percent of the Hungarian population has received the first dose of a Covid vaccine, and 38 percent are fully inoculated, the prime minister told Kossuth Radio.
“The success of the vaccination drive has bought us time, saved us money and brought us freedom,” Orbán said. He urged the 2.5 million people who have not yet registered to get inoculated to do so as soon as possible.
Orbán said Hungary will now transition from mass vaccinations to standby vaccinations, leaving a few vaccination points open for those who want to get the jab.
The prime minister said that whereas up until now it had been the state’s responsibility to make sure that the vaccination drive succeeded, now it would be up to the people. “It’s up to the people now to decide whether or not they want to get vaccinated, but we can’t take responsibility for the consequences,” he said, adding that anyone who gets sick will be treated.
Concerning the vaccination of children, Orbán said he did not expect the scientific community to reach a consensus on the question before the end of the summer.
Only then will the government be able to decide whether it will start a vaccination drive for children or stick to the current system of letting parents decide whether or not they want their child to be inoculated, he said. The prime minister added that it made sense to uphold the rule of allowing parents with immunity certificates to take their children with them anywhere until the end of the summer.
Commenting on the recognition of Hungarian immunity certificates abroad, he said Hungary would continue signing bilateral agreements with countries because it is yet uncertain whether the European Union certificate, planned to be launched on July 1, will work or not. Orbán said he supported the introduction of a common EU certificate but it was important to provide a solution for free travel even before the EU certificate enters force.
The information on the digital version of the Hungarian certificate will be expanded by June 15 to include details such as the type of vaccination and the date of the second shot, in order to bring it in line with EU certificates, he said.
Twenty-six patients, generally elderly with co-morbidities, died over the past 24 hours, while 269 new infections were registered, koronavirus.gov.hu said on Friday.
So far 5,238,903 people have received a first jab, while 3,814,194 have been fully vaccinated.
The number of active infections went down to 64,648, while hospitals are treating 702 Covid patients, 78 of whom need respiratory assistance.
There are 7,393 people in official quarantine, while 5,884,887 tests have been officially carried out.
Since the first outbreak, 805,571 infections have been registered, while fatalities have risen to 29,818. Fully 711,105 people have made a recovery.
So far, most infections have been registered in Budapest and Pest County, followed by the counties of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén, Győr-Moson-Sopron and Hajdú-Bihar.