The Democratic Coalition (DK) on Sunday accused the Orbán government of “politicising the issue of the coronavirus vaccine and subjecting it to its anti-European Union campaign.”
Gergely Arató, DK’s deputy group leader, insisted at an online press conference that the government had “on purpose” refrained from contracting the Moderna vaccines assigned for Hungary by the EU, “because Pfizer-BioNTech offered better prices and delivery conditions”.
It is outrageously irresponsible that the government cited high prices when failing to order enough safe vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency, and then proceeded to buy the Chinese vaccine at double the price”
“It is now clear that the Hungarian government’s priority is to [find excuses to] slam Brussels rather than caring for the health of Hungarians,” Arató said.
Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony called on the government to tap all available Moderna vaccine, deliver the necessary amount to Budapest and allow the municipality to manage the inoculation of its citizens.
“Most large cities are very likely to be just as ready to take on the task,” he added.
Karácsony also called for increasing testing and for free coronavirus tests until the inoculation has gained momentum.
Warning that businesses in several sectors were dipping into the last of their savings, Karácsony called for “new, targeted, swift subsidies free from any form of discrimination”.
Facilitating work from home should also be a priority, he said.
Gergely Gulyás, the prime minister’s chief of staff, in response called the “vaccine policy” of DK and Karácsony “dishonest”, and insisted they were misleading the people on purpose.
Hungary has contracted over 12 million doses of vaccines form the EU, Gulyás said, more than 150 percent of the country’s entire population, Gulyás said. The government has tapped all the vaccines that manufacturers pledged to deliver until October, he said, adding that Moderna would not deliver before December.
The “mayor of the anti-vaccination left may want to start vaccinating in December, but vaccine procurement is, thank goodness, not the leftist parties’ job,” Gulyás said. “If the Left was on government, fewer people were protected and more would die,” he said.
Featured photo illustration by Tamás Vasvári/MTI