BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungary is the first European Union (EU) country to approve the urgent use of China’s CanSino Biologics coronavirus vaccine and CoviShield, the Indian version of the AstraZeneca target, the Hungarian general surgeon said on Monday.
New infections are on the rise in Hungary in a third wave of pandemics, although imports and use of vaccines are among the highest in the EU with the country using Chinese and Russian vaccines as well as Western ones.
If both new vaccines are also approved for mass use by the National Health Center, Hungary will have seven sources from which it can provide the vaccine. It was unclear when and to what extent Hungary planned to deploy the newly authorized vaccines, or how it planned to purchase them.
“We are in a race against time,” Surgeon General Cecilia Muller told a news conference. “We will overturn all four corners of the world for as many doses of the right vaccines as effective and safe.”
The hospitalization rate is at record levels, and even as Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday that the health system would face off, some hospitals are so overwhelmed by the influx of patients that they are looking for untrained volunteers to help.
The third wave that spreads poses a major challenge for Orban, who said tough blockade measures could begin to ease once the vaccination figure reaches 2.5 million people, or a quarter of the population.
Orban faces elections in 2022.
(Report by Anita Komuves and Marton Dunai; Edited by Alison Williams and Ed Osmond)