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Jan 03, 2021 - Zoltán Kovács

PM Orbán on Kossuth Rádió: We have stopped the second wave of the coronavirus, now the task is to prevent a third one from starting

In his first 2021 radio interview, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán detailed the government’s vaccination plan and its prognosis of the coronavirus pandemic and also talked about how the Hungarian economy will shift gears in the coming decade.

 

“Hungary is technically equipped for swift, mass vaccinations should a large amount of vaccines arrive in the country,” Prime Minister Orbán began his radio interview on Kossuth Rádió’s morning program “Vasárnapi Újság.” Right now, he added, there are 35,000 vaccines at our disposal, and their administration is being carried out according to the government’s vaccination plan that prioritizes doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals.

If there are suddenly millions of vaccines at our disposal, Hungarians would get vaccinated where they usually go to vote. “According to our current knowledge, however, we’re not expecting millions of vaccines anytime soon, as manufacturers themselves cannot give us any reliable predictions about quantities and dates.”

In the prime minister’s view, while the European Union is handling the distribution of Western vaccines, his cabinet is busy managing Eastern sources. There will not be enough doses of the Russian vaccine, but the Chinese one now looks more promising, PM Orbán said.

“In an ideal situation, Hungarians would be able to choose between the Western and the Chinese vaccine,” he added.

Without getting into speculations surrounding the uncertainty, Prime Minister Orbán said that “if there are many vaccines available, then we will vaccinate quickly and en masse.” However, if the supply of vaccines is slower, then we will vaccinate less quickly and in smaller quantities.

Responding to the Hungarian opposition’s claim that the government lacks a vaccination plan, the prime minister said that, as it has already been stated countless times by the Chief Medical Officer and himself, healthcare professionals will be followed by social workers, elderly at risk and law enforcement officers.

“The Hungarian healthcare system did much better in managing the epidemic than many of the healthcare systems of highly rated countries,” PM Orbán said, adding that, in Hungary, people did not die due to lack of hospital care. In Hungary, no patients were put out into the corridors and doctors didn’t have to make the call about who gets to stay alive because there weren’t enough ventilators.

Having engaged in “lengthy conversations” recently with Hungarian biochemist and Senior Vice President of BioNTech RNA Pharmaceuticals Katalin Karikó, Prime Minister Orbán noted “there is a German professor as well,” but most of the researchers behind the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are, in fact, Hungarian.

“Albeit with a bit of an exaggeration, we can safely say that this is a Hungarian vaccine, made from American money and Hungarian wit,” PM Orbán said.

Shifting the interview’s focus to the prospects of the Hungarian economy, Prime Minister Orbán said that while the last decade has been the most successful for Hungary in the last 100 years, the next one could be even better. “We are at the gate of great times,” the PM said, adding that 2021 could already become a “fantastic year” even if the first months of it will remain “miserable” due to ongoing restrictions.

“We will transition to an upward trajectory incredibly quickly,” PM Orbán said about the Hungarian economy, predicting that the global economy will also embark on a previously unforeseen level of growth. “The Hungarian economy is now changing gears going into the next decade, undertaking a paradigm shift that only a few understand,” he concluded.