101 Hospitals Join Vaccination Action Week

Government

Syringes of the German-American Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty coronavirus vaccine prepared for use at the Pál Réthy Hospital in Békéscsaba on November 16, 2021.

Photo by Tibor Rosta / MTI.

The government is organizing a vaccination action plan for next week, November 22-28, according to the state’s official COVID-19 website koronavirus.gov.hu, to curb the increasing number of coronavirus infections and improve the overall vaccination rate.

During this period, 101 hospitals all over the country will be equipped with extra vaccination capacity, especially those in Budapest. Those who have yet to be vaccinated are encouraged to come without an appointment between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. to receive their first jabs.

Speaking at a weekly press briefing on November 11, Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, also urged Hungarians already vaccinated against the coronavirus to get their booster jabs following his recent bout with the infection.

Gulyás said the effectiveness of the protection COVID vaccines offer “declines radically” after six months, so those vaccinated should take up the booster shot during the vaccination action week.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, speaking in his weekly interview on Kossuth Rádió on November 5, said a government decree allowing employers to require workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus could boost the inoculation rate in Hungary as people listen to “down-to-earth reasoning.”

He added, “The government hasn’t and won’t be able to convince any more people [to get inoculated]. Now we need the persuasion of workplace communities.”

Compulsory Vaccinations

Hungarian oil and gas company MOL is requiring its staff to certify by January 31 that they have been inoculated, have coronavirus antibodies after recovering from the illness, or have a doctor’s recommendation against getting the jab for health reasons. Although MOL Hungary managing director Péter Ratatics noted that the inoculation rate among his employees stands at more than 80%, he said the aim is to “significantly raise” the ratio.

When COVID vaccines first became available, MOL launched an information campaign with the help of pandemic experts and organized workplace inoculations, giving staff who got their jabs a day off. State-owned railway and bus group MÁV-Volán has also offered extra leisure days to employees who receive their jabs by November 30.

As these measures hopefully boost the stagnating vaccination campaign, deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines continue to pour into the country. The latest delivery of more than 240,000 doses of the COVID vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech on November 16 put the total deliveries of the Comirnaty vaccine to Hungary at more than 10.6 million doses.

The deliveries mean Hungary has maintained enough surplus to continue making vaccination donations to countries more in need across the globe.

“We have enough vaccine for the first and second jabs and the booster shot, and we have security reserves, too, so Hungary can help those countries that are in a difficult situation,” Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said upon donating 800,000 doses of COVID vaccine to Ghana and 300,000 to Rwanda on November 8.

Szijjártó also presented 200,000 doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine to Turkic Council Secretary General Baghdad Aeyev as part of a donation by members of the Turkic Council to be shipped to African countries on November 11.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of November 19, 2021.

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