Hungary will not take part in the next phase of vaccine procurement organised by the European Union, the prime minister’s chief of staff said on Thursday.
Hungary has already ordered over 10 million Western vaccines, to be delivered by the end of 2022, Gergely Gulyás told a regular press briefing.
Once 5 million Hungarians have received their jabs, the vaccination drive is expected to slow down considerably, “even more so than after the four million mark”, Gulyás said. Altogether, “we can expect 5.5 million [Hungarians to get inoculated], 6 million if we are optimistic,” he said.
The ten million Western vaccines will suffice even if a third jab becomes necessary, he said. “In addition, there are also Eastern vaccines at hand,” he said.
Gulyás said that Hungary would have to order and pay for 19 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine, irrespective of whether they are necessary or not. The Hungarian government “will not participate in that 120 billion (forint) game”, partly because a new plant in Debrecen, in eastern Hungary, will probably produce sufficient vaccines from the second half of next year, he insisted.
Hungary “is aware that the EU has a common vaccine purchase programme, and we hope that it will go smoother (in future) than it did in its first phase… but Hungary has amassed sufficient reserves,” Gulyás said.
Featured photo illustration by Zoltán Máthé/MTI