V4 country withdraws from further vaccine procurement by Brussels
The withdrawal was announced by the head of the Prime Minister s office at the online press briefing on Thursday.
The Hungarian government has decided against taking part in the “next chapter” of Brussels s joint vaccine procurement programme, Gergely Gulyas announced on Thursday.
Hungary has placed orders for more than 10 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine to be delivered before the end of 2022, Minister Gulyas said. The vaccine rollout in Hunagary is considered one of the fastest in Europe, however, the vaccination drive will “visibly” slow down once more than 5 million people have been inoculated, the head of the Prime Minister s Office noted. He added that one reason for the expected slowing in pace is the fact that around one-third to one-half of those who registered for the jab have already received an immunity certificate as proof of a past Covid infection. They are likely to get a shot, but “they re not in a hurry to do so,” he explained. “We are likely to reach 5.5 million or perhaps even 6 million [innoculated people] in the most optimistic scenario,” Gulyas said. By comparison, there are 10 million vaccines from the West, as well as from the East, at Hungary s disposal in case booster shots are required.
The minister pointed out that in the framework of the EU s vaccine procurement programme, ordering and paying for 19 million Pfizer vaccines, would be required, regardless of whether the doses are actually needed. Minister Gulyas said, Hungary cannot participate in this “120 billion [forint equivalent to over 343 million euros] adventure”, partly because there is a good chance that Hungary will be able to produce a sufficient amount of vaccines in the new factory in Debrecen from the second half of 2022.
“Of course, Hungary acknowledges that the EU has a joint vaccine procurement programme, we hope it will go smoother than the first phase did. We wish the best of luck to all those who participate in it, but we have built up sufficient reserves,” Gergely Gulyas emphasized.
In Hungary, which has a population of about 9.7 million, 4,829,595 people have been inoculated at least once as of 20 May. This means that 49.4 per cent of the Hungarian population has already received the vaccine, compared to the EU average of 32.6 per cent. 2,814,805 people in the country have already received the second dose of the jab.