Photo: MTI

Opposition proposes scrapping vaccine registration

Infectologist: Hungary has chance to achieve herd immunity by summer

If vaccinations against Covid-19 continue at the rate that is required in Hungary and if enough people register for the jab, the country could achieve herd immunity by the summer, Janos Szlavik, a senior infectologist of the South-Pest Central Hospital, told public media.

This, Szlavik said, would require 60-80 percent of the population to be vaccinated.

Having more than 2.5 million people who have received their first shot “already has an impact on the epidemic”, he said. But he added that this did not mean that there would be a significant decline in daily case numbers, though they would likely go down somewhat.

Hungary, he said, should strive to vaccinate as many people as possible so that the public could see that vaccines are effective. Until a majority of the population is vaccinated, Covid-19 guidelines will have to be followed and “people cannot feel that they are free”, Szlavik said.

He said Hungary will next week receive its first shipment of Johnson and Johnson’s single-dose Janssen jab, making it the sixth vaccine that will be in use in the country.

Concerning AstraZeneca’s vaccine, Szlavik said he still recommended the jab to anyone, arguing that its benefits greatly outweighed the risks that have been reported about it.

Opposition proposes scrapping vaccine registration

Hungary’s opposition parties and the mayor of Budapest have proposed doing away with the registration requirement for getting a Covid-19 vaccine with a view to speeding up and expanding inoculations.

Hungarians should be eligible for a vaccine by presenting a social security (TAJ) card after consulting with their GP, the Socialist Party, the Democratic Coalition, Jobbik, LMP, Momentum and Parbeszed said in a joint statement on Saturday. They said the government should organise vaccinations for non-registered people in places like stadiums and involve local councils in the vaccination campaign.

Scrapping the registration requirement could significantly increase the number of those who ask to get the shot, they argued. “Now is not the time to fight political battles, but to consider the interests of the country and the Hungarian people,” the statement said.

Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony said on Facebook that local councils were able and willing to help the government with vaccinating those who are not registered but want the jab. “In the current dramatic pandemic situation, stadiums should be used for conducting mass vaccinations rather than [soccer] games in front of capacity crowds,” the mayor said.

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