During a break in a meeting with his EU counterparts in Brussels, the foreign minister told reporters that Hungary’s timely steps to purchase vaccines has allowed it to mount the most effective response to the coronavirus pandemic out of all European countries.
“The reason why we’re in first place in vaccinations in Europe is because we bought enough vaccines in time,” Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said. He added that Hungary now has enough vaccines in stock.
The minister added that Hungary will have more than 10 million doses of Eastern and Western jabs delivered by the end of next year, adding that those shipments would suffice if a third shot becomes necessary. Also, Hungary will begin operating its own vaccine plant at the end of 2022, he said, adding that the jabs produced there would also be sufficient to inoculate everyone who has registered for vaccination. “This makes it completely unnecessary to buy more vaccines,” he said.
In regards to the intellectual property rights on COVID vaccines, Minister Szijjártó said Hungary believed the most important thing was to manufacture as many vaccines in as many places as possible. “It is by continuously increasing vaccine production capacities that we can best protect the world from the pandemic, and less so by bureaucratic measures,” he said.
In regards to the EU’s planned vaccine passports, Minister Szijjártó said any debate on the matter was premature as long as the bloc’s average vaccination rate was around 30 percent and many member states were struggling to build public trust in and procure vaccines. “Let’s have enough vaccines first and let’s have people vaccinated,” he said. Hungary will oppose discrimination based on vaccines when it comes to the vaccine passports and rules on entry, he added.