“One thing is for sure, all virologists say that we are up to our necks in the fourth wave and that the hard part is yet to come. So, we are not past the peak. Therefore, the numbers will rise, and everyone can catch the virus, but not all with the same consequences,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said kicking off his morning interview. According to the PM, anyone who is not vaccinated is a danger not only to themselves, but also to the rest of us.
“The only thing that protects us from the virus is vaccination. And we are now also seeing, at least the experts are unanimous in saying, that 4 to 6 months after the second vaccination, the protective power of the vaccine weakens. Therefore, a third vaccination is justified. I can say no more than that I myself took the third vaccine after the second vaccination. I have not caught this virus yet, or if I do, I hope it will not knock me off my feet,” he said.
Speaking about anti-vaxxers, PM Orbán said that if everyone were vaccinated, there would be no fourth wave, or if there were one, “it would be more like a tiny little one.”
“In the end, everyone will have to be vaccinated; even the anti-vaxxers will realize that they will either get vaccinated or die. So, I urge everyone to take this opportunity. We're having a vaccination week next week, and you can go to 101 vaccination points from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to get your third or second vaccination without registering or signing up,” the PM said.
Responding to a question about capping fuel prices at 480 forints, a decision that took effect on Monday, Prime Minister Orbán said that “it is best if the government does not have to intervene. But there are situations where it should. You can't stand idly by and watch prices go through the roof one day, and when the horizon clears, you can see that they’re not going to come back down tomorrow morning.”
“Even if you don't have a car, the high price of petrol is still knocking on your door. Action had to be taken. There was a debate, there is always a debate among our experts, about when to move, at what pace to move, and how much to move. What I usually say in such cases is that if there is an emergency situation, there is no need to be cautious,” PM Orbán said, adding that there was only one other country, Croatia, that capped fuel prices, but they did so at a level equivalent to 530 forints.
Turning to 13th month pensions, the prime minister said that even despite the powerful, yet lower-than-expected GDP growth in Q3, “instead of giving back one week's pension every year, now that the economy has been given a boost, let's not hesitate to give the full 13th month pension to pensioners, and they will receive it sometime in mid-February. I am not saying it is easy, but it can be squeezed out of the budget. And the Finance Minister has figured it out.”
As to the tax exemption for those under the age of 25, PM Orbán said in closing: “I think that we say to you, my dear friend, work until you are 25, try to collect as much money as you can, try to stand on your own two feet, and the state will not take your income tax from you until you are 25; we will manage public expenditures without you. [...] It will come back to the country later, we'll advance it to you for a few years so you can get started. I think this is the right thing to do.”