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Vaccination: Chronic Patients Receive New Text Message After Weekend Chaos

Márton Jász 2021.03.11.

Hungary’s vaccination program was in a state of chaos last weekend due to logistical problems and miscommunication. The government cancelled AstraZeneca vaccinations for those with chronic illnesses. Now, those people received another text message concerning their vaccination, however, some administrative errors could not yet be resolved. 

As it is well known, the government had planned to vaccinate 74,000 chronically ill people under the age of 60 with the AstraZeneca vaccine, but announced the cancellation of the scheduled vaccinations just before they were set to occur.

According to liberal hvg.hu, one of their readers, chronically ill and under the age of 60, who had received his first dose from his GP three weeks ago now received an SMS calling for vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine once again. The person also received an SMS last week to go to the designated hospital vaccination point over the weekend.

The difference is that this time he was being sent to another hospital. Confused, the man called his GP after the text message to check if this was the second dose, but he was told no, the GP would vaccinate him the following week.

During last week’s chaos, it turned out that whoever went to the designated vaccination center could have been vaccinated despite cancellation. After the news spread, there were some people who went there and were vaccinated without even registering, and text messages were shown as a screenshot, even though it wasn’t theirs.

In order to resolve this problem the new text messages now contain unique information; the patients’ TAJ (health insurance) number. However, it turned out that there were minor administrative problems with this approach as well. According to Telex, one of their readers reported that the details of the TAJ number he received by text message did not match his own.

Several other reports were made that the 1818 telephone number, launched after last week’s problems and where people could inquire about their vaccination, is practically impossible to reach supposedly due to the large number of patients trying to get through. Whenever someone tried to call the number, there was always only an automated voice saying that they could not switch to an agent.

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In addition, the new text message includes that “those who already received the vaccination should not do anything,” indicating the the system may not be up to date, and the chaos is still yet to be resolved. However, most of the chronically ill people under 60 received their SMS correctly and will be vaccinated by this weekend.

Featured photo illustration by Attila Balázs/MTI