Hungarian authorities clear Russian, U.K. COVID-19 vaccines

Pharma

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Hungary's National Institute of Pharmacy and Nutrition (OGYÁI) has issued temporary licenses for COVID-19 vaccines developed in Russia and the United Kingdom, Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Minister's Office, said at a weekly press briefing on Thursday, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

This week the Hungarian medicines authority issued temporary licenses for the AstraZeneca and Sputnik vaccines," Gulyás said.

He said negotiations with Russia on procuring the Sputnik V vaccine "are ongoing", adding that Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó is traveling to Moscow on Thursday to discuss the matter. 

He said Russia had resolved earlier production capacity issues and was now able to produce a larger volume of the vaccine.

Hungary has agreed on the delivery of 1 million doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine, but OGYÉI must still approve the vaccine, Gulyás said.

"We hope that as much vaccine from as many sources as possible will be available to Hungary," he added.

Gulyás said that people would get a choice of which vaccine they want when their turn comes to be inoculated. If their preferred vaccine is unavailable at that time, they can wait until it is procured, he added.

He said Hungary will get enough vaccine in the framework of a joint European Union order to inoculate 8.8 million people, but deliveries from that order had been "clearly scant", even as mass inoculation takes place outside of Europe in countries such as Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom or in Arab countries.

Hungary has so far taken delivery of vaccine sufficient to inoculate 165,500 people, he said, adding that about 140,000 people have gotten their jabs already.

Gulyás said a certificate indicating immunity to the coronavirus was expected to be issued from mid-February. The plastic card will show whether someone has been vaccinated or has recovered from COVID-19, he added.

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