Hungary will receive a batch of coronavirus vaccines from Russia in December so that it can start clinical trials; it might also get early samples from a Chinese manufacturer. This means that Hungary could be the first member state of the European Union to have a working vaccine, officials said on Thursday.
In a short video posted on Facebook, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said that after conferring with Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko, they agreed that Russia will send Hungary a batch of coronavirus vaccines to start clinical trials, while a larger quantity would be available in the second or third week of January.
“We have also agreed that we will cooperate in terms of approval procedures. The deputy medical officers will hold a video conference tomorrow [Friday], and either on Friday or Monday, a Hungarian company will have a video conference with the Russian producer. The Hungarian company currently makes flu vaccines, but it may be able to switch to coronavirus vaccines,” Szijjártó said.
“It would be good if we could not only agree on buying the vaccine but also on domestic production,” Szijjártó said.
Tamás Menczer, state secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said in a separate Facebook entry that Hungary could also receive samples for clinical trials from China.
“This could be a huge step, as Hungarian specialists could evaluate a potential coronavirus vaccine,” he said. “We would be among the first or actually the first in Europe,” Menczer noted, adding that Hungary is currently in negotiations with three Chinese, one Russian and one Israeli firm for the delivery of coronavirus vaccines.