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Hungarian BioNTech Scientist Corrects Gov’t Table on Vaccine Efficiency

Tamás Vaski 2021.04.26.

In order to create a more accurate picture of Hungary’s coronavirus vaccines, Katalin Karikó has corrected the vaccine table shared by the Hungarian government. A biologist, biochemist, recipient of the Széchenyi prize and vice president of BioNTech responsible for helping develop the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Karikó said the table should share more details, without which the information provided is “completely misleading.”

The Hungarian government shared a controversial table listing the number of deaths and infections following secondary vaccinations with specific vaccines.

According to the government, Sputnik V is the most effective vaccine both in regards to preventing infection with Covid and preventing death. Pfizer-BioNTech performed second worst in preventing the disease and worst in saving lives. China’s Sinopharm has, based on the Orbán government’s figures, also outperformed Pfizer in both categories.

The table does not provide an accurate picture of Hungary’s vaccine situation, since it ignores the number of people vaccinated with each vaccine, the varying health conditions and age groups that received specific vaccines, and the span of time during which each vaccine has been used.

Gov't Publishes Controversial Data to Prove Sinopharm and Sputnik Better Than Pfizer
Gov't Publishes Controversial Data to Prove Sinopharm and Sputnik Better Than Pfizer

According to the government, Sputnik V is the most effective vaccine both in regards to preventing infection with Covid and preventing death.Continue reading

Katalin Karikó, a Hungarian scientist with international recognition for her involvement in the creation of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, has responded to the government’s post on Facebook by giving the table more clarifications and calling for more context.


Firstly, she added when vaccinations started with each vaccine, based on which, secondly, she showed the number of months that deaths were being measured for.

She clarified that the statistics provided were measured for 2.5 months for Sputnik V, 3 months for Moderna, 2 months for Sinopharm, 4 months for Pfizer/BioNTech, and 2 months for AstraZeneca, since this was the amount of time that these vaccines were used for between December and April.

Thirdly, Karikó noted beside the deaths for Sinopharm and Sputnik V that these vaccines are not used on people with chronic illnesses.

Hungarian Vaccine Researcher Katalin Karikó Potential Candidate for Nobel Prize
Hungarian Vaccine Researcher Katalin Karikó Potential Candidate for Nobel Prize

As we enter what is hopefully the last stage in humanity’s battle with the Covid-19 virus, various vaccines are entering the distribution phase around the world. Hundreds of thousands of people have already been vaccinated, predominantly healthcare workers, the elderly, as well as other essential personnel. As with almost all things, there is something “Hungarian” […]Continue reading

In her statement she added that the table should have included the number of deaths out of every 100,000-elderly people with a chronic illness in elderly care homes. Furthermore, it should have included the number of deaths out of every 100,000 people who did not have a chronic illness.

One does not need to be a researcher to realize that nothing can be compared without an appropriate control variable, or historical control. The age of those who were vaccinated and passed away should be listed beside the number of those who caught the virus, otherwise this information is completely misleading.”

Featured photo via Penn Medicine’s Facebook page