Hospital directorate: 500 volunteers apply to assist hospital staff

Vaccination of critical infrastructure workers begins

Hungary will begin vaccinating its critical infrastructure workers against coronavirus, the chief medical officer said on Wednesday. The next category to be inoculated will be people working in key sectors, including electricity distribution companies and public transport, Cecilia Muller told an online press briefing of the operative board responsible for handling the pandemic.

With the virus spreading even more rapidly than before, the operative board and the national vaccination working group has decided to expand Hungary’s vaccination drive to cover the employees of Budapest transport authority BKK, the Paks nuclear power plant, state-owned energy company MVM and railway companies MAV and GYSEV, Muller said.

“We must expand the circle of vaccine recipients while continuing to inoculate those over the age of 65 at vaccination points and GP clinics,” she said.

Muller also said that while Hungary was making good progress with its vaccination drive, it still did not have access to enough vaccines.

The chief medical officer said Hungary’s health-care system was under “enormous strain”, which could only be reduced if everyone observes hygiene guidelines and gets the vaccine.

Meanwhile, she said average concentrations of the virus in Hungary’s wastewater systems were stabilising, and even declining in Salgotarjan, Tatabanya and five localities near Budapest.

On another subject, Muller said Hungary was expected to receive the first shipment of Johnson and Johnson’s single-dose Janssen vaccine in the second half of April, with the amount to be specified a few days before delivery.

500 volunteers apply to assist hospital staff

Some 500 medical students and graduate volunteers have applied to help ease the burden on hospital staff treating Covid-19 patients, the deputy head of Hungary’s national hospital manager said on Wednesday.

The National Hospital Directorate-General on Monday issued a call for medical students and volunteers to assist with the country’s response to the third wave of the coronavirus epidemic. “There is now a greater need than ever for committed helpers to support the work of our doctors and nurses,” the directorate’s appeal said.

Hungary has begun transferring health-care staff to the more overburdened areas, especially the northern region, Peter Takacs, deputy director-general of the National Hospital Directorate-General told public news channel M1. The number of hospitalised Covid patients “has reached its peak” in Gyor-Moson-Sopron, Komarom-Esztergom, Szabolcs-Szatmar-Bereg and Nograd counties, he added.

Volunteers applying to help out will be filling in for those who have been transferred to other areas, working primarily at outpatient clinics and vaccination points, Takacs said. Doctors, pharmacists and accredited nurses are also encouraged to apply, he said. The national hospital manager last put out a similar call in the autumn, during the second wave, which attracted more than 1,000 volunteers, he said.

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