A shipment of 120 thousand Sputnik V vaccines arrived after midnight on Tuesday. The amount is 20 thousand doses short of what was expected, and significantly less than the 250 thousand doses which were agreed upon for this phase of Hungary’s Sputnik V procurement contract.
Posting about the cargo airplane’s take-off on his Facebook page, Foriegn Minister Péter Szijjártó did not bring up that the late arrivals would be fewer than the expected amount. He instead described the success of shipments, and that this is the cargo airplane’s 7th trip to transport Eastern vaccines in the last two months.
The lack of expected vaccines is an issue because people who have already been vaccinated with Sputnik V may not receive their second inoculation on time to provide them with full immunity. While the exact lifetime of the first shot is not known, the Hungarian government has specified that it aims to provide the second dose after 21 days.
Ideally, this Sputnik V shipment was meant to provide the 250 thousand people inoculated with the March 21 shipment full immunity. The issue is that this shipment arrived 23 days later, and may jeopardize the immunity of 130 thousand people if more second-dose shipments do not arrive soon.
Adding to the time before second inoculation is the fact that new shipments must be tested and transported to vaccination clinics and general practitioners.
In Thursday’s government press conference, Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office Gergely Gulyás stated that second doses of the Russian vaccine will arrive on time for everyone, and that there is consensus that there are no serious problems if it is administered some days later than the expected time frame.
The head of the Prime minister’s Office was also asked whether, according to Slovakia’s State Institute for Drug Control, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Lancet were provided with different Sputnik V vaccines, to which he did not respond. The minister, however, later stated that the Russian vaccine is better than Western ones.
Now that more than 30 percent of the Hungarian population has been inoculated with the coronavirus vaccine, the clock is ticking for the government to make sure those people receive full immunity through timely and efficient second jabs.
Featured photo via Péter Szijjártó’s Facebook page