Hungary has become one of 19 EU countries that has agreed to redistribute a portion of the incoming spring vaccine delivery to the countries most in need. In addition, the Orbán government has also promised to donate approximately 40,000 vaccines to the Czech Republic in the first half of May.
The EU’s vaccine doses are usually distributed based on the member countries’ population size. On Thursday, the member countries’s representatives, however, agreed to implement modifications so that those “countries in need” would receive more from the 10 million BioNTech-Pfizer doses due to arrive in the second quarter of the year. As a result, of those 10 million doses, 2.85 million will be shared between five members: Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, and Slovakia.
Hungary was one of those 19 countries that agreed to a ‘solidarity vaccine’ (re-)distribution, although currently Hungary is having the most dire coronavirus situation in Europe. However, the rate of vaccination is outstanding in the EU, thanks to the authorization of Chinese and Russian vaccines, which no other country has done in the EU.
Hungary will give 40,000 extra doses (reportedly Pfizer or Moderna) to the Czech Republic too, which is also being hit extremely hard by the third wave (meanwhile, the Czech Rep. said no to the solidarity redistribution, saying it needed more doses to tackle the high rate of infections and deaths).
According to the Hungarian foreign minister, Hungary would have enough vaccines for everyone by then. “The Czech Republic is [among other countries] in a tough situation due to the European Commission’s defective vaccine procurement,” Péter Szijjártó said, adding that thanks to the government’s timely procurement of large quantities of Eastern vaccines in addition to EU procurements, “we are at the forefront of vaccinations” per capita in the bloc.
The EU foresees a major speed-up of the second quarter’s deliveries, expecting it to be sufficient to inoculate at least 70% of the bloc’s adult population by July.
Featured photo illustration by György Varga/MTI