In a Sunday interview on national radio station Kossuth, Orbán said that the government was now focusing on vaccinations at the pace allowed by the arrival of the available batches, with priority given to doctors and other healthcare workers, the ones most exposed to contagion. He added, however, that he was dissatisfied because of the scarcity of vaccines. “I am not satisfied with the pace (and) there are certain producers whose products were available in other countries before the European Union, but we are also looking at alternatives to the East,” Orbán said. He added that current indications suggest that a Chinese vaccine might be the first one available in sufficient quantities and that the Hungarian government is pursuing alternative sources to those provided by the European Union. “It is possible to have agreements outside of the EU quota. We have also sent out our agents, but without success so far.
Everybody is negotiating for quotas above the EU one, this is not forbidden,” Orbán said. He also said that ideally, by March, 40 to 50 percent of the Hungarian population should be inoculated, and while the Hungarian distribution plan is in place, that remains subject to vaccine availability. “The question is the availability of vaccines. If these arrive quickly, we will inoculate many people and fast,” Orbán said. New Year’s press conference canceled Orbán also canceled his by now traditional New Year international press conference due to the coronavirus pandemic, his press secretary Bertalan Havas told daily Magyar Nemzet. “Due to the regulations related to the coronavirus pandemic, this year it will not be possible to hold the prime minister’s customary year-opening press conference,” Havasi said. In the first days of 2019, Orbán held the first such press conference in parliament, while last year it was in the prime minister’s office. The latter one lasted almost three hours.
Title image: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the 2020 New Year international press conference. (Magyar Nemzet/Árpád Kurucz)