Photo: MTI

Official: Vaccinations key to return to normalcy

Nearly 1.5 million vaccine doses to arrive from Russia, China

Some 1.48 million doses of vaccine are scheduled to arrive in Hungary from Russia and China in the next ten days, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Wednesday. After consultations with WHO Europe Regional Director Hans Kluge, Szijjarto told a joint press conference that 600,000 doses of vaccine are scheduled to arrive from China on Saturday, which will be the largest shipment since the start of the pandemic. Early next week, some 280,000 doses of the second-component Sputnik vaccine is scheduled to arrive from Russia, he added.

In the second half of next week, an additional 400,000 doses of the Chinese vaccine will arrive, in addition to a shipment of 100,000 doses bought for Georgia, he said. Additionally, 200,000 first-component Sputnik vaccine is also scheduled to arrive in the second half of next week, he said.

Hungary will have received 2.1 million Chinese jabs by the end of April, some 600,000 doses more than originally contracted, he said. This will help address the situation resulting from the withdrawal of a western supplier, he added.

Szijjarto said Hungary had been regularly consulting with the WHO during the anti-pandemic efforts and acted in line with the organisation’s standards. He added that Hungary was at the front of the European list in terms of the percentage of vaccinated population. He expressed thanks to health workers and everyone involved in the logictics of vaccine supplies and added that sufficient volumes were available to continue the vaccination drive.

Szijjarto also thanked the WHO for “staying fair and correct throughout the period and not rising to politically-motivated attempts to provoke sentiments, handling vaccines as the most important means to save lives, with the only concern kept in mind that they are safe and effective”. “Hungary has made its decisions in the same spirit,” he added.

Kluge welcomed Hungary’s measures and its “exemplary” vaccination drive. He said the government’s measures were designed to protect both individuals and businesses. Vaccination is considered a life-saving measure in Hungary and it “surpasses geo-political interests”, he said. He noted that Hungary’s vaccination rate was well above the European average and added that by the end of May all registered Hungarians could be inoculated.

Concerning the steps of re-opening, Kluge said that they should be determined by changes in the pandemic, adding that schools should be closed last and reopened first.

After the meeting, Kluge and Ledia Lazeri, the head of WHO’s Budapest office, visited Budapest’s Koranyi Pulmonology Institute (OKPI) and praised the work done there, as well as the “heroic” work of Hungarian health-care workers. “As a doctor, I was looking forward to this visit very much. What I experienced here is fascinating,” Kluge said. “OKPI, as a figurehead of the fight against tubercolosis in Hungary, has had a key role in experiments on the WHO’s new models. They successfully employed those experiences in the fight against the coronavirus as well.”

Official: Vaccinations key to return to normalcy

The more people get vaccinated, the faster “normal life” can return and the stronger protection can be gained against a fourth wave of the pandemic, the state secretary for regional public administration said on Wednesday.

Istvan Gyorgy, who is also the head of the central team in charge of the national vaccination programme, told an online press conference that the number of people vaccinated exceeded 3.36 million, close to 60 percent of whom are older than 60. He noted that more than 90 percent of those who registered for vaccination in this age group have received their jabs, noting that “a few ten thousand” of them with an acute underlying illness could not be subject to receiving any type of vaccine.

As regards the age group of 18-54, Gyorgy noted that 54 percent of the 2,362,000 who registered for vaccination have received their jabs.

An acceleration of the vaccination drive is expected from the weekend with the arrival of a consignment of 600,000 doses of Sinopharm, he said.

Gyorgy said that the government was introducing a pilot system for vaccination reservation. In the first round, some 70,000 residents in and near Budapest, in Pecs, Debrecen and Szeged can participate, he said. They will be sent a text message on Wednesday which they can use to book online their vaccination for next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Parbeszed wants increased orphan support for children of victims

Opposition Parbeszed on Wednesday said it has submitted a draft resolution to parliament on increasing orphan support for children whose parents have died from Covid-19.

Parbeszed is proposing that orphan support should be increased to at least 100,000 forints (EUR 277) retroactively from Jan. 1 for children who lost a working age parent to coronavirus, Bence Tordai, the party’s deputy group leader, told an online press conference.

The party is also proposing a one-off “reverence contribution” of 500,000 forints for families who have lost someone to Covid-19, he said.

Tordai also said that the jobseeker’s allowance should be doubled and the period of eligibility for it should be extended to nine months.

He also called on the government to “repeal measures that have made access to health care stricter” and to introduce a so-called crisis managing basic income. Also, public employees should be earning the minimum wage and store and business owners should receive financial support to help them reopen, he added.


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