Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in an interview with public radio that the 12 million doses of vaccines Hungary had procured against the coronavirus are expected to be sufficient to stem the epidemic.
The vaccines are likely to be rolled out at the end of spring, although exact dates are as yet uncertain, he said, adding that vaccines were health-care issues, not political ones. If certain countries are further along in developing it, then it “makes sense” that Hungary should order from them as well, he said, referring to talks under way with China and Russia. Referring to financier George Soros’s call for an inquiry as to why Hungary had received samples of a Russian vaccine on Thursday, Orbán said: “It isn’t Soros’s job to decide which vaccines are good and which aren’t. That is for laboratories to decide and the Hungarian people, who will be free to choose from among several vaccines.”
Orbán said the favourable statistics recorded in the past few days weren’t proof that the coronavirus epidemic was subsiding. Referring to a recent consultation with Hungary’s chief medical officer, Orbán said the number of infections “may fall further but equally it could start rising again”. He asked Hungarians to be more disciplined “because the lives of the elderly are in danger, and all lives matter.” He said the number of people in hospital was high, but the health-care system had not yet reached capacity.
Orbán noted that 1,150 soldiers are serving in hospitals and another 1,150 are on standby. He rejected accusations that the government had failed to prepare adequately for a second wave. The prime minister expressed doubt about quick coronavirus tests and said the logistical task of organising testing in the smallest of localities was hard, “but we are prepared”, noting that 2,000 students were involved in the operations. Orbán said mass testing was good preparation for when mass vaccinations occur.