Photo: MTI

'Reopening too soon', cautions Doctors' Chamber

Chief medical officer: Hungary to follow EMA advice on AstraZeneca jab

Hungary will follow the European drug regulator's advice on how to proceed with the use of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 jab, the chief medical officer told an online press briefing. Cecilia Muller noted that several countries have either suspended the use of the British-Swedish drugmaker's vaccine or are limiting its use to certain age groups after reports of some of its recipients experiencing rare blood clots. She also noted that on Tuesday a senior official for the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said there was a clear link between the vaccine and rare blood clots in the brain, although its causes were unknown.

“The EMA, however, has not issued an official opinion on the matter,” Muller said. “If one is issued today or tomorrow, the Hungarian authorities will take it into consideration and use it as a guideline when deciding how to proceed with the AstraZeneca jab.”

The chief medical officer also thanked Hungary’s health-care professionals for their service on the occasion of World Health Day.

Istvan Gyorgy, a state secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office, told the same press briefing that Covid-19 cases were down significantly within the groups that have been vaccinated, including among health-care workers and retirement home residents.

Hungary has also vaccinated more than 100,000 of its teachers and will inoculate more of them this week, he said.

The state secretary added, however, that the country’s vaccination drive was still heavily dependent on the limited supply of vaccines. Altogether 3.9 million people have registered to get the vaccine so far, 1.6 million of whom have yet to receive their first shot, he said.

Gyorgy noted that Hungary began the first stage of its phased reopening on Wednesday, having reached 2.5 million vaccinations. This means shops can now reopen, services can resume and the evening-night curfew has been shortened to between 10pm and 5am, he noted. Every single vaccine recipient brings Hungary closer to a return to normalcy, he said.

‘Reopening too soon’, cautions Doctors’ Chamber

The board of the Hungarian Chamber of Doctors (MOK) on Wednesday said a reopening is starting too soon in the country, insisting that the epidemiological and health situation does not yet mandate an easing of pandemic rules. “We believe reopening has started too soon. We maintain the view that an improvement in the epidemic data and a reduction in case load on the health-care system should be the preconditions for reopening rather than the current ratio of vaccinations,” MOK’s board said in a statement.

The board noted that Hungary reported a record high number of Covid-19 related deaths for Tuesday, an increasing number of Covid patients in hospital and a stagnating high number of people needing ventilator support.

“Data suggest that the third wave is just peaking. Vaccination ensures a reassuring high degree of protection against the virus only after the seventh day following the second shot. In any earlier phase, after receiving the first shot, protection is only partial which means that transmission is still possible while the recipient develops a false sense of security,” the board said.

The board said it supported extending the opening hours of shops and restricting the number of customers but consider the planned reopening of schools as a move coming “too early”.

MOK’s board has asked the public to continue observing pandemic rules including limited visits to shops, public spaces and friends, as well as mask wearing, warning that “we are far from being over the third wave which has already taken a heavy toll on us”.

Leave a Reply