PM Orbán: Vaccination Action Week to be extended, first shipment of vaccines for children to arrive in December

In his Friday morning, radio interview, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán discussed the importance of getting a booster jab against COVID-19, the migration pressure threatening Europe, and the government’s commitment to keeping public utility prices low.

Viktor Orbán said that Vaccination Action Week, which has allowed Hungarians to get vaccinated without having to register or book an appointment, has seen a record number of Hungarians getting vaccinated, so the program will be extended for another week. Vaccines become less effective over time, he explained, encouraging everyone to get the third dose, which boosts the effects of the previous vaccines and is therefore a “lifesaver.”

Asked whether further coronavirus restrictions are in sight, the prime minister said that if they can get the spread of infection under control, there is no reason to shut down: “I’m not ruling anything out, but I want to avoid anything drastic. A closure only slows the virus down, while the real solution is a third vaccination," he stressed, adding that the proportion of those receiving the third dose in Hungary – approximately 21 percent of the population – is much higher than the European average.

Commenting on the European Medicines Agency’s approval of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine for use in children aged 5 to 11, PM Orbán highlighted that 2 million vaccines have been procured to this end, and the first shipment will be available December 20.  Parents will have time to consider whether to vaccinate their children.

He praised the work of doctors and nurses, adding that measures to support them have been taken, including unprecedented wage increases. The PM also noted that Hungary’s healthcare capacity is far greater than in the West.

Regarding the migrant crisis and Brussels’ reluctance to support the construction of physical borders, Viktor Orbán said that pressure is coming from three directions at the same time: from Italy, from the Polish-Belarusian border and from the Balkan route, adding that more than 100,000 migrants have already been stopped at the Hungarian border this year.

“The EU is being foolish” by not accepting that the refugee situation should be assessed outside the border, he said, underlining that “every month the pressure is increasing, and Brussels must stop punishing those who defend Europe's borders.” While they are not giving money for border protection, they fund everyone who promotes immigration, including those associated with Soros groups and other NGOs, he said.

Some countries openly admit that they want to be immigrant countries, the PM said, citing the German government’s program. Hungary, on the other hand, feels otherwise, and new rules must be developed to allow the two opposing positions to coexist within Europe.

In terms of household utility costs, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that since 2013, it has been quite clear that price cuts are working: “No matter how the prices of gas and electricity change, the government's task is to bring them down to an acceptable level,” he pointed out. While in the West, households are suffering from the current high prices, this is not the case in Hungary, where the government is on the side of the Hungarian people. “The Hungarian system is good and helps families,” he said.

On next year's tax package, he said that the government believes in tax cuts, which will leave money in the economy, leading to job creation. PM Orbán also noted that whether or not tax reductions can be maintained will be at the center of the elections next spring.

Photo credit: MTI