PM Orbán: We are 1-2 months ahead of Western Europe in terms of vaccination

In his regular Friday morning radio interview, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said the inoculation of 16-18-year-olds is unprecedented, adding that further easing of restrictions will be announced when the milestone of 5 million vaccinated is reached.

Photo credit: Facebook - Viktor Orbán

Commenting on Kossuth Rádió about the recent data that Hungary ranks first in the EU and 10th worldwide in terms of immunizing its people against COVID-19, the prime minister stressed that what’s at stake in this “competition” is human lives. The PM underlined that Hungary has also suffered significant losses, which must be kept in mind.

Following an informal meeting with biochemist Katalin Karikó on Thursday, he said that the method her team developed to inoculate people against COVID-19 allows for a faster response to new coronavirus mutations. The prime minister noted that he was greatly reassured by what he learned from her during their discussion, regarding the efficacy of vaccination both now and in the future.

Speaking on the different kinds of available vaccines and the inoculation campaign, Viktor Orbán noted that currently one may choose from four different shots, while teens between the ages of 16 and 18 are already being inoculated with the Pfizer vaccine, which is unprecedented in Europe. Western Europe is one to two months behind us, and there is no free choice of vaccines, PM Orbán highlighted. He expressed his gratitude that more than half of those between 16 and 18 responsibly registered for the vaccine.

He also noted that the Left “has gone too far” with its anti-vaccination drive and their push to make people mistrust Eastern vaccines was “more than a mistake.”

With respect to the reopening, the prime minister pointed out that Hungary could be the first country in Europe where life gets back to normal; however, he warned, the pandemic is not over yet, and some security measures must remain in place. A new step of easing restrictions may be announced after 5 million people are vaccinated, a milestone that is likely to be reached in May, he said. The PM added that any further easing will concern weddings, events and the curfew. He made it clear that until August, major events can only be attended by those with an immunity certificate.

He also mentioned that the “orders have been placed” in case a third jab would be necessary against the coronavirus.

Regarding the relaunch of the economy and the European Commission’s positive forecast on Hungary, the prime minister said the number of those employed in Hungary is the same as before the crisis, an achievement that would not have been possible without the efforts of healthcare workers.

Favorable economic prospects allowed for a pension premium and a tax exemption for those under 25 to be included in the recently submitted budget, Prime Minister Orbán said, highlighting that HUF 7.3 trillion is available for the economic reboot. He further stated that the budget could get Hungary back on track for outstanding growth versus other EU countries.

Finally, the prime minister called the country’s family policy a “Hungarian feat,” which may help rebalance the demographic situation. The turning point, he noted, will be when having children is a better choice financially than not having them.