The Sputnik V vaccine – Photo:

Hungary to receive 680,000 more doses of Sputnik V over next two weeks

Government office accuses opposition councils of shirking vaccination assistance for GPs

The Budapest government office on Friday said it had received "multiple complaints" from GPs that left-wing district councils were failing to provide staff to assist them in the administrative tasks connected to the Covid-19 inoculation campaign.

The working group coordinating vaccinations within the pandemic operative board asked local councils months ago to provide staff for GP offices, to facilitate duties such as fixing appointments and other paperwork, the government office said, calling the shirking of such functions “unacceptable”.

In response, Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony and 14 district mayors signed a statement calling the government office’s claims “lies”. Local councils are in regular contact with the “GPs doing superhuman work and provide all help possible under the law”, the statement said.

Local authorities are “ready and able” to aid the inoculation campaign by providing venues and staff, the statement said. The city municipality and district offices have launched several initiatives to do so, but “mostly only received political attacks in return”, the statement said.

The statement accused the government and the Budapest government office of “wasting time on vile and sordid political attacks while Hungary keeps hitting tragic records and its [Covid] mortality rate is among the worst in the world”.

“The government office and its leadership should finally recognise that there are no Fidesz districts and leftist districts when it comes to the pandemic protection efforts, only Budapest citizens who deserve effective action instead of political soundbites,” the statement said.

The government office’s duty should be to facilitate a swift and transparent inoculation campaign together with Budapest’s district local councils, the statement said.

Hungary to receive 680,000 more doses of Sputnik V over next two weeks

Hungary will receive another 680,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine over the next two weeks, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Friday after talks with Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov.

Hungary will take delivery of 250,000 doses of the vaccine early next week, followed by another 250,000 doses on the following week, Szijjarto, who was administered the Russian jab on Friday, said on Facebook. Another 180,000 doses that will serve as the second shot for people who have already received the first will also be delivered next week, he added.

“The vaccine is the only way to defeat the pandemic,” Szijjarto said, urging the public to register to be inoculated.

Over half of registered seniors inoculated

More than half of the elderly Hungarians registered for vaccination against Covid-19 have now received their shots, the chief epidemiologist of the Public Health Centre said.

Agnes Galgoczi, speaking at the press conference of the central coronavirus board, said that the goal was to complete the vaccination process as soon as possible. So far, 1,478,000 people have received at least their first shot, including 444,451, who are fully inoculated, she said.

Referring to a Thursday statement by the European Medicines Agency, Galgoczi said that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe to use, with no increased risk of developing blood clots. “Its benefits far surpass possible risks,” she said, noting that several hundred thousand Hungarians had been inoculated with the product.

Concerning the Janssen vaccine, Galgoczi said that it was not expected to arrive in Hungary before the second half of April. “As soon as it is here, we will use it,” she added.

Answering a question, the official said that so far the British coronavirus variant had been identified in 1,397 Hungarian samples, while 13 samples contained the Czech and 6 the South African types. The Brazilian variant of the virus has not been reported in Hungary, she said.

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