Hungary will follow the European drug regulator’s advice on how to proceed with the use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 jab, the chief medical officer told an online press briefing on Wednesday.
Cecília Müller noted that several countries have either suspended the use of the British-Swedish drugmaker’s vaccine or are limiting its use to certain age groups after reports of some of its recipients experiencing rare blood clots. She also noted that on Tuesday a senior official for the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said there was a clear link between the vaccine and rare blood clots in the brain, although its causes were unknown.
“The EMA, however, has not issued an official opinion on the matter,” Müller said. “If one is issued today or tomorrow, the Hungarian authorities will take it into consideration and use it as a guideline when deciding how to proceed with the AstraZeneca jab.”
The chief medical officer also thanked Hungary’s health-care professionals for their service on the occasion of World Health Day.
István György, a state secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office, told the same press briefing that Covid-19 cases were down significantly within the groups that have been vaccinated, including among health-care workers and retirement home residents.
Hungary has also vaccinated more than 100,000 of its teachers and will inoculate more of them this week, he said.
The state secretary added, however, that the country’s vaccination drive was still heavily dependent on the limited supply of vaccines. Altogether 3.9 million people have registered to get the vaccine so far, 1.6 million of whom have yet to receive their first shot, he said.
György noted that Hungary began the first stage of its phased reopening on Wednesday, having reached 2.5 million vaccinations. This means shops can now reopen, services can resume and the evening-night curfew has been shortened to between 10pm and 5am, he noted. Every single vaccine recipient brings Hungary closer to a return to normalcy, he said.
Featured photo illustration by Attila Balázs/MTI