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State Secy Kovács Defends Purchase of Chinese and Russian Vaccines in CNN Interview

MTI-Hungary Today 2021.03.02.

The coronavirus vaccine is not a political issue, but one of effectiveness and reliability, Zoltán Kovács, the state secretary in charge of international communications and relations, said in an interview to CNN on Monday.

Asked why Hungary was using Covid vaccines that have not been approved by the European Union, Kovács said both the Chinese and Russian vaccines were in use in many parts of the world, adding that Hungary trusted its scientists and doctors who have approved those jabs.

Kovács said that, when compared with the vaccination strategies of Israel and the United States, the EU’s strategy had failed.

He said the bloc was now at least two months behind with its vaccination strategy due to a failure by Brussels to make timely decisions. The state secretary said the only way to combat the third wave of the pandemic was to speed up vaccinations.

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Kovács said Hungary was complying with EU directives when it came to the procurement of vaccines.

Hungary has not broken a single rule, he said, adding that the country had merely expanded its strategy to include Eastern vaccine sources. Kovács said the Hungarian government expects the EU to approve both the Russian and the Chinese vaccine within a few weeks.

He said Hungary was in a race against time due to the faster spread of the virus’s mutant variants.

Asked how Hungarians felt about the Chinese and Russian vaccines, Kovács said some were sceptical, as they had been about the Western vaccines, but the people understood that the vaccine was the key to a return to normalcy.

Kovács said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s decision to get vaccinated with the Chinese jab this past weekend had demonstrated that every vaccine that has been approved by Hungarian scientists was safe and effective.

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Concerning the Hungarian opposition’s protests against Hungary’s use of Eastern vaccines, Kovács said the “many lies” being told about those jabs by the opposition showed that they were against the coronavirus vaccine and looking to spread “fear and distrust” among the population.

Asked if Orbán’s decision for Hungary to use vaccines not yet approved by the EU had been a political one in response to criticisms over the state of the rule of law in the country, Kovács said all decisions made by the government were political.

Kovács said that though Hungary had received an abundance of criticism from the EU over the past decade, it had proven, for instance when it came to the economy or social policy, that solutions besides the mainstream European ones were also possible.

Featured photo illustration by Tibor Rosta/MTI