Speaking on the public Kossuth Rádió’s morning program “Good Morning, Hungary,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán confirmed that Hungary’s vaccination capacity exceeds the number of vaccines arriving from the European Union by far. At the EU’s current rate, it would not be before autumn 2021 that we could lift restrictions, the prime minister said, adding that the Hungarian healthcare system is capable of inoculating 500,000 people in a “regular day.”
“It is not due to our vaccination capacity but to the lack of vaccines that we cannot give more shots,” the PM said, wondering if EU leaders made a “good call” when they decided to jointly procure vaccines. “Those who have opted to pursue their own path are now ahead of us,” PM Orbán observed.
According to the prime minister, we can see that the third wave of the coronavirus has “barged in” on the surrounding countries. Hungary has almost finished vaccinating healthcare workers, elderly home residents and social workers, but the prime minister is now seeking to speed up the vaccination campaign using its own resources.
“I would like to ask [Hungary’s] authority in charge of authorizing the vaccines to act responsibly, but also to act quickly,” PM Orbán said, referring to the COVID-19 vaccine it has procured from China, which will be available in large quantities once it passes testing by the authorities. Soon enough, the PM revealed, we will be able to start vaccinating those above 60 years of age and those suffering from a chronic disease – some 1 million Hungarians; these people could get the Chinese shot in a matter of days.
Now, with the second wave mostly behind us, the prime minister said, we can safely say that “Hungary’s healthcare system didn’t even tremble,” and our doctors and nurses are among the best in the world.
Shifting the focus of the interview to the plans in motion for an economic turnaround, Prime Minister Orbán said that “there is still a lot of energy left in the Hungarian economy.” This is a workfare economy, the PM noted, saying that Hungarians want to work. But for this, an environment is needed in which it is worthwhile to work. Therefore, taxes must be reduced.
The two key areas of Hungary’s management of the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Orbán explained, are protecting jobs and boosting investment. Besides these, the government is also gradually reintroducing the 13th month pension, has launched the biggest home creation and renovation program in the history of Hungary, and plans to grant an exemption for those under 25 from the personal income tax.