More people are now vaccinated against COVID-19 in Hungary than were infected by the virus since its appearance in the country, according to official data. The country reached the encouraging milestone on the 20th of February.
A total of 427,309 people received their first jab against the coronavirus in Hungary, koronavirus.gov.hu said on Saturday. Despite the rising number of new infections in the country, the total number of infected that day was 400,111; 27,000 less than those already inoculated.
Fortunately, the trend has continued in the past days as well. On Monday, the total number of infected was 405,646 while 453,457 people have been administered a vaccine.
This means that more people are now vaccinated against the virus in Hungary than the number of registered cases. The same milestone was reached globally on February 3rd, Reuters reports.
This recent statistic can be somewhat reassuring especially given that the UK Covid variant has just started spreading rapidly while the third wave of the virus has also hit Hungary.
It is important to note, however, that the real number of those infected with the virus is without a doubt higher than official data suggests. Hungary’s testing capacity was extremely limited, especially during the first wave, therefore a lot of people “went under the radar” of the authorities. Also, many without symptoms or with milder ones were able to recover without testing.
Another important factor to take into account is that most of those vaccinated have received only one of two of the required doses. So far only 201,005 people are fully vaccinated in Hungary, which is 2.1% of the total population.
Hungary started mass vaccination at the end of last December with the inoculation of its healthcare workers using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. It was followed by the vaccination of those in social and elderly care homes. Right now, the inoculation of those above the age of 89 and those with chronic illnesses below the age of 60 are still ongoing.
There are currently five Covid vaccines in Hungary. Inoculation has already started with four of them including US-German Pfizer-Biontech, US Moderna, British-Swedish AstraZeneca, and Russia’s Sputnik V. The last one is the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine which also received authorization from Hungary’s drug regulatory authority but vaccination will only start with it in the coming days. It has stirred up quite a huge debate regarding its safety and reliability.
Hungary has so far received enough vaccines to inoculate a total of 737,000 people. The shipments include 35,000 doses from Pfizer, 84,00 from AstraZeneca, 20,000 from Moderna, and 23,000 from Sputnik V, and 275,000 from Sinopharm.
Most of the 453,457 people who have been vaccinated in Hungary received the Pfizer vaccine, which was the first to receive a license, while the first shots of the Russian Sputnik V were administered in Hungary on the 13th of February.
For various reasons including supply chain and distribution bottlenecks from the vaccine manufacturers, the pace of inoculation is progressing slowly in Hungary. Another major problem is the skepticism towards vaccination among Hungarians. In the past weeks, an improving tendency can be seen, but still, only 2,265,000 Hungarians have so far registered to be inoculated.
Featured photo by Sándor Ujvári/MTI