The Consumer Protection Department of the Budapest Government Office has initiated proceedings against a private company called International Vaccination Center, where you can register for a Covid-19 vaccination for five thousand forints (EUR 13.7). The company has now reported that it will make the coronavirus vaccine waiting list free of charge.
“The company is adapting to the changing legal environment and will return the full amount paid to all concerned, while still doing its best to help vaccinate against the coronavirus epidemic,” the company announced in a statement on Tuesday.
The International Vaccination Center admitted that it has been selling vaccine reservations since August 20th. By November 28th, a total of 4,997 people had booked and almost 25 million forints (EUR 68,300) had been paid in. During the investigation, the government office looked at whether the company has been engaging in illegal commercial practices by letting people book vaccinations for money, but they were also looking at their information about vaccinations, as it was unclear from where they were being procured.
“From today onwards, in response to the changing legal environment, the pre-registration will be canceled in its current form. Within a week, the pre-booking fee will be reimbursed to all interested parties, and in the future the waiting list will be managed without such financial incentives, which will be closed and not expand further,” Roland Kámány, Managing Director of International Vaccination Center, explained.
As the company argued, the importance of pre-booking was that the vaccinations would be extremely difficult to get in the first few months, so people should sign up for the pre-booking program. Moreover, reservations were recommended for those who did not want to wait months to receive the vaccine.
“Even though we will refund the amounts, we will keep the list, and if we get the vaccine we will notify the patients in that particular order. In this way, virtually everyone can retain their place in line,” they said.
The Managing Director of the private company added:
“We expect to receive an approved vaccine in the first quarter of 2021, so that those who could not be included in the free state vaccination program (such as foreign nationals living in Hungary) could soon receive a vaccination against the coronavirus.”
Featured photo by Tamás Vasvári/MTI