Following the reported problems around Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot Covid-19 vaccine, the Hungarian government decided that before it is authorized for use it must be examined by the Hungarian medicines agency (OGYÉI). Meanwhile, the government struck a deal with Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinopharm to offset the vaccine deficit caused by the Janssen issue.
The first shipment of Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) single-shot Covid-19 vaccine Janssen arrived in Hungary last Tuesday. It contained enough doses for a total of 28,800 people. The government ordered a total of 4.36 million doses of the Janssen vaccine and planned to begin using the jab this week.
By the time the shipment arrived, however, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) had already initiated a review of the vaccine after rare blood clots were reported following the vaccination of several individuals in the US. Johnson & Johnson announced that it would delay the rollout of its vaccine to Europe.
In an interview following the decision of EMA, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán called the news regarding the Janssen vaccine „alarming.”
Orbán said some 500,000 vaccines in Hungary manufactured by Johnson and Johnson will have to be thoroughly examined and replaced.
The Janssen vaccine will be examined in Hungary separately, “an unusual step as we so far accepted Western certificates and only examined Eastern vaccines,” Orbán said.
„We want exactly the same investigation as if it were an Eastern vaccine. We want to see the factory, we want to see what happens, because the news is very alarming, and we have ordered a lot of this vaccine,” the prime minister added.
Orbán also said that he would, together with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó, work to try to replace the “missing vaccines.”
Only a day later Péter Szijjártó announced Hungary has managed to procure 1 million Chinese Sinopharm vaccine doses – 600,000 more than originally scheduled for delivery.
In addition to the 400,000 vaccines due in April, China is delivering 600,000 doses due in May ahead of schedule, Szijjártó said, adding that this would offset the delay in Western shipments.
Featured photo by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI