János Lázár, former head of the Prime Minister’s Office, and member of parliament from Fidesz, told Radio 7 that politicians who had entrusted themselves with purchasing vaccines only from Brussels had made a life-threatening decision. He argued that the purchase of Chinese and Russian vaccines on the other hand, saved over half a million people in Hungary.
The government commissioner said that European voters are dying due to the decision of the European Commission, while as we can see with the example of the United Kingdom, their vaccination rate is over 50 percent. Lázár contended in the radio interview that if Britain had remained a member of the EU, many more Britons would have died. He further added that
Eastern vaccines have so far saved the lives of 600,000 Hungarians and protected them from serious illness, while 20,000 Hungarians have lost their lives due to the lack of Western vaccines.”
However, the argument has many shortcomings. First, in Hungary, where the death toll rose to 20,000 on Monday, thousands died of the disease before any coronavirus vaccine was available to any country at all. The first vaccine was administered on December 26th, when the second wave was already in its descending period. At that time, the total number of people who lost their lives to the coronavirus was about 9,000.
Of course Hungary is indeed one of the first countries in Europe where the vaccination rate is over 20 percent, which is undoubtedly due to the fact that the country is using five vaccines instead of three. At the same time, however, Hungary’s situation in terms of deaths in proportion to one million people is currently the worst in the European Union despite the use of five different vaccinations. According to the latest figures, there have been 20,737 fatalities in total since the start of the pandemic, and the healthcare system is massively overwhelmed as the third wave peaks in the country.
Furthermore, when we look at the number of vaccines in Hungary, it turns out that the most that were ordered, arrived, and administered were the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine. So far the government has ordered nearly 11 million out of which about 1.5 million has arrived to the country. According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Hungary has administered around 1,098,712 Pfizer/BioNtech vaccines so far, which makes it the most used vaccine in the country. The second vaccine Hungary has used the most is the Chinese Sinopharm, with around half a million doses given to the population.
Featured photo by Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI