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A vaccine, now in sight, will be the solution to the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on social media after a meeting of the Health Scientific Council. “The vaccine is the solution”, he said, adding that this outcome was on the horizon. Orbán said there was “a good chance” that European, Chinese and Russian vaccines would be available in Hungary and, after the appropriate assessments, anyone wishing to vaccinate themselves would be able to do so voluntarily. He said that until that point, which he described in terms of “a few weeks”, it was important to be “aware of what’s going on around us”. Austria, he added, was “our laboratory”, and he had spoken to the Austrian Chancellor today with a request to share Austrian experience.
Next week, the Russian coronavirus vaccine is expected to reach an important “milestone”, enabling Hungary to buy small quantities of the vaccine from December and large quantities from January, the foreign minister said on Facebook on Saturday. Péter Szijjártó also noted Hungary is in talks with Russia on purchasing a license so that the country can produce the vaccine locally. Additionally, Hungary has signalled its intention to buy doses from a Chinese state vaccine manufacturer and two privately owned companies, so Hungary may be among the first countries in Europe to procure vaccines, he said.
On Friday, Szijjártó underscored the importance of quicker decision-making and the soonest possible introduction of a vaccine in tackling the coronavirus pandemic and keeping the country open. He told MTI that he had discussed the state of the pandemic with his Austrian, Czech, Polish and Slovak counterparts earlier in the day. The case numbers and fatalities seen during the second wave of the pandemic are posing a serious challenge to the entire central European region, the minister said. “The daily average statistics we’re seeing right now are four or five times the record numbers seen during the first wave, which were then considered absolutely disastrous,” he said. “This goes to show that the situation is now far more serious than it was in the spring.” He added, however, that the current situation was more favourable in terms of the level of preparedness of the various health-care systems.