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Hungarian president receives injection of China's Sinopharm vaccine against COVID-19

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-02-28 16:04
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Hungarian President Janos Ader receives an injection of China's Sinopharm vaccine against COVID-19 in Budapest on Feb 27, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

BUDAPEST -- Hungarian President Janos Ader received an injection of China's Sinopharm vaccine against COVID-19 on Friday as the country was bracing for the third wave of the pandemic.

Ader told local news agency MTI that he chose the Chinese product that was immediately available, instead of Pfizer or Moderna's vaccines, for which he would have to wait several months.

Meanwhile, in a short message aired by Hungarian public television M1, Ader called on all Hungarians to register for the vaccination as soon as possible.

"Anyone who gets the chance to receive the first and then the second vaccine with any product approved by the Hungarian authorities and Hungarian experts should do so," Ader said.

"Let's trust our doctors, let's trust our healthcare system," Ader said, adding that he hoped that Hungarians would soon leave the pandemic behind.

With access to vaccines from five producers, namely China's Sinopharm, Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Russia's Sputnik V, Hungary, the first European Union (EU) member state to buy and authorize the use of Chinese vaccines, started to administer the Sinopharm vaccine on Wednesday.

Calling the first day of the injection of Chinese vaccines "a very important day," Prime Minister Viktor Orban stressed that vaccines purchased from the EU were arriving slower than expected, and Hungary would find itself in "big trouble" without Chinese and Russian vaccines.

The Hungarian government is boosting its vaccination program with Russian and Chinese vaccines, as the third wave of the pandemic has brought daily infections and deaths in the country to the level of mid-December last year.

Hungary on Saturday registered 4,948 new cases and 107 more deaths in the past 24 hours, raising its national total to 424,130 and the death toll to 14,902, according to official data.

So far, 319,691 people have recovered. Currently, 5,282 patients are being treated in hospitals, including 482 on ventilators, figures from the government's coronavirus information website showed.

As of Saturday, 563,601 people have received at least a first vaccine jab, while 244,407 have received two jabs, according to the website.

According to a Friday report by local media Daily Metropol, Hungarians were lining up to get the Chinese jab.

Hungary intends to inoculate all the 2.6 million people registered for the vaccine by Easter, and Prime Minister Orban aims to vaccinate a further million by May.

After the arrival of the first batch of Chinese vaccines, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto said Friday that another batch would arrive in Hungary in March.

With the help of Russian and Chinese vaccines, Hungary would become the EU member with the highest number of citizens vaccinated, Orban said.

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