Concerning the possibility of mandatory vaccination, the prime minister’s chief of staff said that under the constitution “everybody is responsible for themselves”. “Still, we must consider whether vaccination should be made compulsory for doing certain jobs” such as in health care, Gergely Gulyás told a press briefing. All Covid-19 vaccines in use in Hungary are effective and would provide protection in the event of a fourth wave, he said, adding that “those working to create distrust in vaccines” had the effect of discouraging people from getting inoculated, thereby putting them at risk of death. The government considers “efforts to create distrust in certain vaccines for political gain extremely harmful”. “The benign assumption is that there are political interests behind these efforts, while the malign one is that it’s about the business interests of pharmaceutical companies.” Gulyás urged political players and journalists to accept the findings of science and not to exploit the issue of vaccines to help certain political parties. Citing research by Semmelweis Medical University, the minister said the finding had “clearly indicated that the efficacy of all vaccines licenced for use in Hungary is above 96%”. The results also show that Russia’s Sputnik vaccine “is the very best” since all 1,300 blood tests taken have come back positive, Gulyás added.
Asked about the chance of administering a third Covid-19 vaccine dose to those who have not developed enough antibodies after two shots, Gulyás said the government was set to announce a relevant decision on Friday morning. Most Hungarians will be protected in the event of a fourth wave of the pandemic, Gulyás said, arguing that all of the jabs in use in Hungary were effective against the Delta variant of the virus. Citing research by Semmelweis University, Gulyás said that focusing on the level of antibodies as a marker for immunity was beside the point. He said the Budapest municipality’s antibody tests were therefore “pointless” and only served to create uncertainty around the vaccines and discourage people from getting inoculated.
Addressing reports that 700 Hungarians had travelled to Romania to receive a third jab, the minister explained this in terms of the 1.5 million Hungarians who live in Transylvania. Also, he said the government was working under the assumption that schools would be able to start the year in September under normal conditions.