Clinical trials had indicated that Pfizer's vaccine was 95 percent effective – Photo: MTI

Opposition calls for vaccines to be licenced by professionals not government

The opposition alliance of six parties has called on the government to withdraw a decree under which coronavirus vaccines can be granted a licence for use in Hungary without approval from the National Medicines and Food Health Institute.

The Democratic Coalition, Jobbik, LMP, Momentum, Socialist and Parbeszed parties said in a joint statement on Friday that “licensing vaccines must not be made a political matter” and insisted that “health professionals rather than politicians should be consulted” when selecting vaccines to be applied in the country.

Easing the strict rules of licensing medicines would “increase public distrust for science and for vaccination in particular”, the statement said. Traditional protocols could be sped up but “bypassing or neglecting them could pose serious risks”, the document added.

Signatories to the statement also called for government guarantees that residents would be offered free choice of the available vaccines, and insisted that “chaotic” government communication contributed to the public’s scepticism about Russian and Chinese vaccine products.

DK: Chinese vaccine approved under political pressure

DK said on Friday that the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm had been approved by the Hungarian authorities under political duress.

DK health spokesman Zoltan Komaromi told an online press conference that the jab had been licenced by the National Medicines and Food Health Institute (OGYEI) in the face of public outrage over pressure exerted by the government on the agency.

Komaromi objected to “gambling with the health and lives of Hungarians”. He insisted that it should have been down to the European Medicines Agency to decide whether the vaccine was safe and effective.

Medicines agency green-lights China vaccine

The National Medicines and Food Health Institute (OGYEI) has granted a licence for the Chinese Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine to be used in Hungary, the chief medical officer said on Friday.

Cecilia Muller noted that Sinopharm will be available in addition to the Pfizer, Moderna, Sputnik V, and AstraZeneca vaccines already licenced in Hungary.

Muller said hopefully the vaccines would be available in large quantities and the Hungarian population could be vaccinated “in a shorter period”.

Hungary’s health authorities will rely on the cooperation of family doctors to inoculate seniors, Muller said.


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