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Hungary’s Sinopharm Issue – Third Vaccination on the Horizon?

Tamás Vaski 2021.07.02.

There is an increasing amount of evidence that many Hungarians vaccinated with China’s Sinopharm vaccine, primarily the elderly, do not have the necessary amount of antibodies required for protection from the coronavirus. While the issue has led many to take matters into their own hands, it is possible that Hungary will soon begin providing third vaccinations.

One million Hungarians, a large part of them elderly people, were vaccinated with Sinopharm, and it is worrying to hear that many of them are now reporting a complete lack of immunity to the coronavirus. To put the issue into perspective, the Facebook group called “Vaccinated with Sinopharm with Negative Laboratory Test Results” has now grown to 6.1 thousand members.

According to investigative portal Átlátszó, 28 percent of Hungarians between the ages of 60 and 69 and 36 percent of Hungarians between 70 and 79 were vaccinated with Sinopharm. Around 18.6 percent of the country’s eldest population above the age of 80 received the Chinese vaccine.

Hungary’s Sinopharm Issues Clear After Large-Scale Testing

Ottó Sinkó, co-CEO of Videoton, a Hungarian company with around 8,600 employees, told Portfolio that company-wide voluntary testing gave evidence that one third of their Sinopharm-vaccinated employees above the age of 60 had adequate antibody levels.

Hungary's Sinopharm Controversy Gaining Heat Over Low Antibody Tests
Hungary's Sinopharm Controversy Gaining Heat Over Low Antibody Tests

Despite the criticism, Semmelweis rector Béla Merkely says once we are vaccinated "we need to lay back, and not get tested for antibodies.”Continue reading

Sinkó added that none of those who tested negative for the necessary amount of antibodies had T-cell immunity, meaning they were completely prone to the virus.

The results of the antibody tests show that all tested vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna, AstarZeneca, Sputnik – initiated antibody production regardless of age, except for the Sinopharm vaccine.”

The co-CEO believes third vaccinations should be allowed, even if they must be paid for. He also suggested that there are a large number of ‘western vaccines’ available to those vaccinated with Sinopharm.

“These people got vaccinated in vain, because now they are completely vulnerable to the next potential wave of the virus. This is not only morally wrong, but legally worrying.”

Chances of Immunity with Sinopharm Decrease with Age

Telex reported based on a document from an antibody testing laboratory in Budapest that the Sinopharm vaccine simply does not provide immunity for many elderly people. While 90 percent of those below the age of 60 developed antibodies after two-three weeks, only 60 percent of those above the age of 70 had the same results.

Worries Around Sinopharm Resurface Following Low Antibody Tests
Worries Around Sinopharm Resurface Following Low Antibody Tests

Now, there are more than 3.6 thousand members in the rapidly growing “People Vaccinated with Sinopharm with Negative Laboratory Tests,” closed Facebook group.Continue reading

The lab test took place with 450 anonymous participants, part of them vaccinated with Pfizer, the other with Sinopharm. The test took place according to the United States Food and Drug Administration’s protocol, and results were taken two to three weeks after each individual’s second vaccination.

The testing found that Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in developing antibodies for all age groups. Sinopharm’s vaccine, however, was found to develop antibody levels ten times lower than that of Pfizer’s. When sorting by age group, people above the age of 60 are expected to have a 25 percent chance of not developing enough antibodies from Sinopharm. 50 percent of people above the age of 80 are unlikely to develop enough antibodies after being fully vaccinated.

Budapest Offers 19 Thousand Free Antibody Tests

Budapest mayor and prime ministerial candidate from the opposition, Gergely Karácsony, has announced that Budapest will be offering free antibody tests to people above the age of 60 who were vaccinated with Sinopharm. 18 of the 19 thousand tests set aside will be ready for Budapest residents.

It would have been under state jurisdiction to test these people and revaccinated them. These people turned to the government with their test results and were simply met with deaf ears, while world news gives cause for concern. The emergence of the delta variant is causing many big cities to introduce restrictions.”

Normally a proper antibody test costs around 8-10 thousand forint (EUR 22-28).

Bp Mayor Calls for Making Results of Antibody Tests on Sinopharm Recipients Public
Bp Mayor Calls for Making Results of Antibody Tests on Sinopharm Recipients Public

In case the government refuses to offer free antibody tests in the foreseeable future, Budapest will make the necessary arrangements to do so within its powers, the mayor said.Continue reading

Hungarians Seeking Third Vaccinations

Many Hungarians are already taking matters into their own hands by crossing the border into Romania to access Pfizer vaccinations, according to reports.

Multiple vaccination points have been set up along the border, and those registering are lying about their vaccination status (Romania does not allow third vaccinations) so that they can access Pfizer. Technically there are enough Pfizer vaccines in Hungary as well, and third vaccinations may be a good idea.

Hungary Begins Testing Efficacy of All Major Vaccines
Hungary Begins Testing Efficacy of All Major Vaccines

With 3,211 volunteers, Hungary would be the first to conduct such a large scale analysis of all five vaccines at once.Continue reading

The information being revealed around Sinopharm points to a need for third vaccinations, and it appears that the Hungarian government will soon oblige. The coronavirus operative board told RTL that “Hungary is prepared for the third vaccination.”

Featured photo illustration by Attila Balázs/MTI