Gov't in talks to substitute Janssen vaccine

Pharma

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Hungary's government is in talks to procure COVID vaccines to substitute for Janssen jabs, Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Minister's Office, said at a weekly press briefing on Thursday, according to Hungarian news agency MTI.

"We can count on half a million fewer vaccines. Those must be substituted. Thus the government is in talks with everybody from whom we can hope to get vaccines to replace [the Janssen jabs] in the coming weeks as quickly as possible," Gulyás said.

Johnson and Johnson said on Tuesday that it decided to "proactively delay the rollout" of the Janssen vaccine in Europe after becoming aware of an "extremely rare disorder" involving people with blood clots who got the jab.

"If we can substitute the Janssen vaccine, we can inoculate everybody by the end of May," Gulyás argued.

He said experts believe over 60% of Hungarians, more than 6 million people, must be inoculated to achieve herd immunity, adding that the government would launch a "Vaccines rescue lives!" promotional campaign using billboards and other media.

He said 4,216,951 people have registered to be inoculated, so far, although including healthcare workers, who were not required to be registered, the number of registered or inoculated people stands around 4.5 million.

In recent days, he said 50,000-100,000 have registered daily to get their jabs, but added that there could come a time when there is more vaccine available than people who have registered.

Commenting on the pace of vaccine deliveries, Gulyás said the BioNTech/Pfizer and Sinopharm vaccines are "arriving with minimal delays", and deliveries of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine are "reliable", while there are "serious problems" with the delivery schedules of all other coronavirus vaccines Hungary has ordered.

Responding to a question on planned amendments to this year's budget, Gulyás said the government would submit the changes after the Fiscal Council issues an opinion on the draft legislation, "on April 20 or by the 27th at the latest".

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