Hungary is at the forefront of Europe with regard to its vaccination rate. According to Professor E. Sylvester Vizi, this is primarily attributable to the well-organized vaccination program, as well as the country’s decision to make itself partially independent of the European Union’s vaccine procurement. The pharmacologist also draws attention to the fact that Hungarian authorities authorized only trustworthy vaccines. This is why he considers it unethical when certain opinions question these decisions and assert that certain vaccines have been authorized because of political pressure. The professor encourages everyone to vaccinate themselves as soon as possible with the vaccine that is offered to them.
Translation by Tamás Vaski
E. Sylvester Vizi, pharmacologist, and former president of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences says that the fact that we are doing so well regarding vaccinations in Hungary is not only thanks to the well-organized vaccination program. According to the professor, the reason why our vaccination rate is among Europe’s best is because Hungary has made itself partially independent from the European Union’s vaccine procurement. “While the EU was lagging with orders that it only ended up finalizing in November, Israel and the United States had already signed contracts with Pfizer-BioNTech in June. The result of this was that the European Union, with us included, received relatively fewer vaccines, relatively later.”
The professor also calls attention to the fact that Hungarian authorities allowed only trustworthy vaccines. It is for this reason that he considers it unethical to question such decisions, and to assert that certain vaccines were authorized because of political pressure.
Both the National Institute of Pharmacy and Nutrition and the Medical Research Council have internationally recognized professionals working for them. They followed the entire process attentively. It is a severe mistake to question their knowledge, in fact it is a crime.”
According to E. Sylvester Vizi, it is irresponsible to raise such doubts because in the same way that trust is the most important aspect of a doctor-patient relationship, in this situation as well it is a priority that people trust the authorities. “This plays a key role in vaccination willingness,” the professor emphasized.
According to E. Sylvester Vizi, the world is at war, but the fight is against a single, mutual enemy, the virus. He believes it to be wrong to compare the efficacy of different vaccines, since today the most important task should be to obstruct the potential hospitalization of people with severe symptoms.
If one vaccine is 80% effective, another is 90% effective, but there are fewer doses available of the latter. I would raise the question, should we not give people the former? Since even with the help of that one we could save the lives of 8 out of every 10 people, compared to none if they are not vaccinated at all.”
The professor emphasized: “Vaccination needed to begin as soon as possible, since with enough time we can not only save peoples’ lives, but we can protect the large majority of the population from severe symptoms.”
It is a mistake to create artificial doubt in people because it reduces their willingness to be vaccinated.”
E. Sylvester Vizi also reminds us that Hungary can be proud of the fact that around the world hundreds of millions of people are being inoculated with the vaccine which was developed by Hungarian researcher Katalin Karikó. Karikó was born in Szolnok. She grew up in Kisújszállás, and she completed her doctorate at the University of Szeged. In other words, the knowledge that she gained here was later used abroad. (In the United States, Katalin Karikó, together with Professor Drew Weissman, developed the technology that would serve as the foundation for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.)
In conclusion, the professor discussed the recently published table which shows the efficacy of various vaccines in Hungary. He does not agree with a table that is not based on science, since it can also mislead the opinions that people have developed around vaccination.