As many people in Hungary do not want to get vaccinated either because they are afraid of the side effects of the vaccine, or because they have doubts over its effectiveness, many scientists, public figures, and leading politicians have started campaigning to convince skeptics that the vaccines are safe and encourage everyone to get inoculated. We took a look at what the Hungarian parties’ main messages are regarding vaccination.
Unsurprisingly, government politicians are regularly campaigning on social media and other forums to persuade people of the importance of vaccination.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been continuously emphasizing that the vaccines are safe and necessary, adding however that he will only be inoculated “when it is my turn.”
Not long ago András Csaba Dézsi, the Fidesz mayor of Győr who is also a cardiologist at the local hospital, encouraged vaccination by sharing a video on Facebook where he can be seen getting the shot.
András Aradszki, State Secretary for Energy Policy and a lawmaker of co-ruling KDNP, also promoted vaccination in an interview.
“Be very careful and cautious; this virus is no joke! I suggest anyone who can, get vaccinated,” he said after spending 50 days in the hospital due to the coronavirus.
Besides the government, the main opposition parties have been highlighting the importance of the vaccination against coronavirus as well, although there is a difference in how proactively they are trying to convince people.
Besides the governing parties, it is perhaps centrist liberal Momentum, Hungary’s largest extra-parliamentary party, that is trying to promote vaccination the most.
Katalin Cseh, the party’s MEP and party member Gábor Kerpel-Fronius, deputy mayor of Budapest, have both been heavily campaigning on social media to increase the public trust in the vaccines.
György Buzinkay, a former member of the party’s presidency, in an opinion piece even argued that the government should make vaccination mandatory for the general public.
Opposition green LMP has also been trying to promote inoculation on a similar scale to Momentum. A vaccination campaign was launched on the party’s Facebook page weeks ago. But the party has been fiercely attacking the vaccination’s registration process, demanding it to be removed, and making vaccination available in general.
The Socialists also emphasized the importance of vaccination. István Ujhelyi, the party’s MEP, highlighted on social media several times that once his turn comes, he will also be vaccinated.
Opposition Párbeszéd co-leader and Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony also called on residents to “trust the vaccine against the coronavirus.” In a recent video on social media, Karácsony suggested that confidence in the vaccine had nothing to do with political affiliations. “Believe me, as an opposition mayor I have a thousand reasons not to trust the government, but trusting the vaccine is not an opinion about the government or the opposition,” Karácsony said.
The Democratic Coalition was somewhat less active in promoting vaccination. Although the party’s politicians have said in multiple forums that it is in the country’s best interest for as many people as possible to register and receive the vaccine, DK was more persistent in demanding the government to stop collecting personal data on the registration website for the coronavirus vaccination. The party also heavily criticized the government’s decision for not giving up on the possible use of the Russian vaccines.
Jobbik also stressed the importance of safe vaccines “proven by reliable clinical trials, approved by both the U.S. and European pharmaceutical authorities”. However, just like DK, the party slammed the government for the Russian vaccine, also criticizing it for the possible ”discrimination against those who decide not to get vaccinated.”
Rather than the importance of administering the vaccine, the extra-parliamentary far-right Mi Hazánk called on the government not to condemn those who do not want to be vaccinated.
Featured photo by Márton Mónus/MTI