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Friday, September 22, 2023

Hungarian PM Orban: Had we not ordered vaccines from the East, we would be in big trouble

By V4 Agency

With each passing week, everyone in Europe who had trust in Brussels’ joint vaccine procurement is becoming increasingly disappointed, Hungarian PM Viktor Orban told public media on Sunday, adding that Hungary had ordered western vaccines enough for the inoculation of 13 million, as well as eastern jabs enough for 3.5 million people. The only question is when these will arrive. The delivery of the Russian and Chinese versions is roughly on time, while those secured by the EU are either not coming, or there are significant delays.

At the beginning of the conversation, PM Orban stressed that it was possible to maintain the current rate of 63,000 inoculations a day, provided that three conditions are in place: there should be people who administer the jabs, people should register and there should be sufficient vaccines available. He added that the latter poses the biggest challenge because, although vaccines from the East – China, and Russia – are arriving as scheduled, supplies through the European Union are still extremely slow.

The prime minister said Hungary was not in need of foreign help. “We have more hospital beds and ventilators in proportion to the population than anyone in Europe,” he added.

In connection with the Hungarian opposition’s rhetoric, Mr. Orban said judging the effectiveness of the government’s vaccination campaign on how many doses are stockpiled in Hungary was a “sneaky lie.”

Vaccines in storage are either for administration within the next few days or because they are reserved as the required second dose of an already administered first jab.

If we hadn’t ordered vaccines from the East, we would be in big trouble

Viktor Orban said the Russian and Chinese vaccines tend to arrive in time or even earlier than scheduled, contrary to those distributed by the EU, which either don’t come or are being delivered slowly, causing disappointment with each passing week to all those who had trust in Brussels’ joint procurement process.

Anyone who did not secure vaccines from the East is forced to wait. If we hadn’t ordered the vaccines from the east, we would be in big trouble. The most infected area in the world is the European Union, with 20 percent of the fatalities coming from here. In terms of vaccinations, both Israel and the UK are well ahead. The EU’s average vaccination rate is below 6.8 percent, so something is not right here.

“They botched it up,” the Hungarian premier added.

The prime minister also mentioned that five EU member states had asked the European Commission president to examine the disproportionate distribution of vaccines.

Regarding the Hungarian opposition’s attack on the government’s measures designed to handle the epidemic – including the procurement of the Chinese jab – Mr Orban stressed that so far 500,000 people have been vaccinated with Sinopharm, which they could not have replaced with any other brand. When people’s lives are at stake, the left is politicising the epidemic : they try to discredit our healthcare and make bogus videos. The question is “how do they live with their own conscience?” Viktor Orban asked.

Now there are two debates in Brussels

PM Orban said his government made public vaccine contracts with eastern suppliers because Brussels refused to be transparent about the deals with western suppliers. It is often the case that contracts contain information that cannot otherwise be disclosed. There are now two debates in Brussels. One revolves around where the negotiating bureaucrats made a mistake, but they should – by disclosing the contracts – prove that they had negotiated well.

The other debate is about money.

“If they had asked for more to obtain Western vaccines, we would have paid that, too. These disputes are often financial disputes,” he said.

There will be a vaccine factory of Hungarian interest in Israel

Our scientists are also making progress with the development of a Hungarian vaccine, PM Orban said, adding that Hungary must build up its production capacities to make enough vaccines so that Hungary can be self-sufficient in vaccine production in a year’s time. There will also be a vaccine factory of Hungarian interest in Israel.

Regarding reopening of the country, Mr. Orban said it was not possible to say an exact date yet. “No one would have thought that we would also have to deal with a third wave. This is because of the mutant strains. The big question is whether the vaccines provide protection against these mutant variants. Our experience shows that the vaccines available in Hungary are effective against them.”

“Hungary is the only country in the world where five types of vaccines are available,” he stressed.

If we work together, we will again regain our freedom in 2021.

Regarding the upcoming Hungarian national holiday (15 March) celebrating the Revolution and War of Independence of 1848, Viktor Orban said our freedom is now at stake, just like it was back then, because we are up against a cunning enemy.

However, “If we work together, we will again regain our freedom in 2021,” he added.


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