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Vaccination in Hungary: Orbán’s Unsettling Statements Are Clarified

Tamás Vaski 2021.02.09.

In a recently held joint press conference with Andrej Babiš, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán made some surprising statements regarding the vaccination process in Hungary, and the opportunity for those being inoculated to choose their preferred vaccines. Hungary’s Ministry of Human Resources was quick to refute the prime minister’s claims, while Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller shared some more information on the subject.

According to Viktor Orbán, since vaccination in Hungary is free and voluntary, patients will only know what type of vaccine they are receiving once they arrive at their designated vaccination point, reports Euronews. During his joint press conference, he also said that those who do not ask for the readily available vaccine will “go to the back of the line” and be informed once the vaccine they requested is available.

The prime minister also said that patients will not be informed by email about the type of vaccine which they will receive. This could be a problem if people are wary of certain vaccines, as has been the case with Sinopharm and Sputnik V, the latter already being authorized in Hungary.

Orbán was not entirely specific about what he meant by going “to the back of the line,” if the available vaccine is not preferable for the patient.

During the press conference, the prime minister also emphasized the need for quick access to vaccines, which he does not believe Brussels is capable of. He shared his support for the Russian vaccine saying that he considers it trustworthy, and that uncertainty around it will be overcome with time.

Hungary’s Ministry of Human Resources (EMMI) refuted Orbán’s press conference statements on the vaccination process, saying that those waiting to be vaccinated will know ahead of time what vaccines are available for them, reports ATV.

They also commented on the “back of the line” statement, saying “whoever rejects the vaccine readily available at their vaccination point will be notified once their chosen vaccine is made available.”

Still, this does not entirely answer the question of how soon those people will receive their preferred vaccine. It also raises the question of whether, among authorized vaccines, certain types will be more readily available than others.

Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller said that it is only due to medical reasons that doctors may favor one vaccine over another for their individual patients. Müller believes any vaccine is better than having to live with the dangers of being unvaccinated, and the availability of different vaccines provides options for those with a preference.

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Many people in Hungary want to know when they can expect the removal of restrictions and a national reopening of society, but government officials have not given a clear, cohesive answer. Meanwhile, there are suggestions for revitalizing the economy, which has been struggling due to restrictions. Medical Experts warn that absolute caution is currently the […]Continue reading

Many questions remain around the vaccination process in Hungary, which may leave people wondering whether it is worth waiting for their chosen vaccine, or simply accepting whatever option is readily available at their vaccination point. Regardless, there is proof for the efficacy and safety of every vaccine currently authorized by the government.

In the featured photo, Viktor Orbán and Andrej Babiš hold a joint press conference following their meeting in Budapest at the Karmelita Monastery on February 5, 2021. Featured phot by Szilár Koszticsák/MTI