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Government official: ‘Irresponsible’ to politicise procurement of vaccines

The procurement of coronavirus vaccines should not be politicised, a foreign ministry official said on Monday, adding that doing so was "irresponsible and foolish". "Those suffering from the virus only want to be cured and those who are healthy want to stay healthy. This isn't politics," Tamas Menczer, the state secretary for communications and international representation, told public news broadcaster M1.

Hungary is participating in every European Union-based coronavirus vaccine research programme and has procured 12 million doses of vaccines, Menczer noted.

“Though we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel, no one can say for certain when we’ll get a vaccine or when it’ll be mass-produced,” he said.

The state secretary said it was for this reason that Hungary should “also look to the East” and cooperate with China and Russia when it comes to developing a Covid-19 vaccine.

He noted that Hungary was the first European country to receive a sample of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine, which was now being analysed by experts.

Hungary is also in contact with three Chinese vaccine developers, he said, adding that the state-run Sinopharm Group was in a position to complete the third phase of the clinical trials of its vaccine before the end of the year.

All decisions on the vaccines will be made by Hungarian experts, Menczer said. “Anyone attacking this procedure is actually attacking the opinions and knowledge of the Hungarian experts,” he said, and suggested that those criticising Hungary’s procurement of coronavirus vaccines represented the interests of pharmaceutical multinationals and “the Brussels lobby scene”.

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