KSH: Number of 2020 deaths 6.3 percent higher than five-year average

Two further vaccines licenced for use in Hungary

Hungary's medicines authority OGYEI has granted licences for use to the Chinese CanSino coronavirus vaccine and Covishield, AstraZeneca's vaccine produced in India, the chief medical officer said on Monday.

Cecilia Muller, speaking at the daily press conference of the coronavirus operative board, said she hoped that a greater choice of vaccines would bolster the country’s vaccination programme, adding that “the jab is the only way out of the epidemic”.

Muller said that 1.59 million Hungarians, 16 percent of the population, had received at least their first shot, but warned that the third wave of the pandemic was “still extremely dynamic”, with the highly infectious British coronavirus variant causing 90 percent of the new cases.

“We are running a race with time; the more immunised people we have, the sooner the epidemic will subside,” she said, encouraging citizens to “accept the vaccine offered without further consideration”.

Muller said that the highest number of hospitalised Covid-patients, 625 people, are being treated in the hospitals of Budapest’s Semmelweis University, while another 450 were in the city’s Honved hospital. Fully 542 patients are being treated in Debrecen, in eastern Hungary, 510 in Miskolc, in the north, 444 in Szekeshefervar, in the west, and 343 in Gyor, in the country’s north-west, she said. All other hospitals across the country have fewer than 300 Covid patients each, she added.

OGYEI said in a statement that all batches of the new vaccines delivered to Hungary would have to be approved by the National Public Health Centre (NNK) before being administered to the public.

The regulator said it has granted a temporary authorisation for the use of the CoviShield jab, which, similarly to AstraZeneca’s vaccine, is a viral vector shot. The vaccine is being developed in India using technology granted to the Serum Institute of India by AstraZeneca.

Canadian drug regulator Health Canada granted authorisation for the emergency use of the vaccine in February after concluding that it was similar enough to the AstraZeneca jab.

CanSino, OGYEI noted, is also a viral vector vaccine developed by CanSino Biologics and the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology. The regulator said it has authorised the purchase of samples of the single-dose vaccine, having reviewed the documentation of its production process in December. The samples are being studied by the NNK.

KSH: Number of 2020 deaths 6.3 percent higher than five-year average

The number of deaths in Hungary grew by 6.3 percent in 2020 compared to the average of the five previous years, the head of the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Monday.

According to Hungary’s electronic registry system, 140,900 people died in the country last year, 8,331 more than the average in 2015-2019, Gabriella Vukovich told MTI.

The increase was the sixth lowest in the European Union, behind Latvia, Iceland, Finland, Denmark and Estonia, she noted. Slovenia and Poland are “at the other end of that sad list” with 18 and 19 percent, respectively, she said.

Last year, Hungary recorded 9,884 coronavirus-related deaths, Vukovich said.

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