Hungary is locked in a life-and-death struggle with the coronavirus, but many from the country’s left-wing opposition parties are discouraging people from being vaccinated, which could cost thousands of lives, said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
“When people’s lives are at stake, the left is making a political policy out of the epidemic… and misleading videos are being made. It is a question of how to deal with their own conscience,” Orbán said, warning about the left’s strategy on Kossuth Radio on Sunday after returning from a trip to Israel,
Hungary’s left-wing parties have attacked the country for embracing Russian and Chinese vaccines. However, momentum is quickly building within other European nations to follow the same path after the European Union’s vaccination rollout failed to deliver to member states, leaving countries scrambling to catch up with Israel, the United States, and even Serbia, all countries with higher rates of vaccination. Italy, for example, has now struck a deal with Russia to produce the Sputnik V vaccine on Italian territory while other countries like Czechia have also embraced the Chinese vaccine.
The Lancet, generally considered Britan’s most prestigious medical journal, also produced a study that found that the Russia’s vaccine is “safe and effective” and featured an efficacy rate of 91 percent.
Orbán said that 63,000 people were vaccinated in Hungary in one day, but if the left is successful at spreading its anti-vaccine ideology, it will lower vaccination rates, according to Hungarian news outlet Magyar Nemzet.
Orbán has emphasized that the goal is to save lives, and that spreading conspiracy theories about the Russian and Chinese vaccines is a political gambit that will harm the nation.
“For that reason, the left must stop its anti-vaccine campaign,” the prime minister underlined.
The prime minister noted that 500,000 people have now received the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine and that the vaccine could not have been replaced with anything else. While 13 million Western vaccines have been ordered, Orbán said that his government saw procurement issues, which led the government to also secure over 3 million Eastern vaccines as well.
Orbán pointed to severe problems with the Western procurement system for vaccines, and that the vaccines that the EU ordered were arriving slowly or not at all. He said there is grave disappointment with Brussels at the moment and that is the only reason vaccines from Eastern nations like Russia and China were ordered, which have arrived on time.
Europe is currently the most infected area of the world and accounts for 20 percent of all deaths to date. Orbán remarked that his visit from Israel showed a country with an exemplary vaccination program, and that the situation was also good in Britain, which had left the EU.
Orbán said that he believes Hungary is going through its “darkest” moments before the “dawn”, but in the meantime, the country has sufficient hospital beds and the most ventilators on a per capita basis of any European nation.
In addition to restrictive measures, the country is also thinking about the long-term, said Orban, who pointed to Hungarian scientists who are currently working on a Hungarian vaccine with domestic production in mind. The goal is to vaccinate between 10 million to 15 million Hungarians quickly in the event the virus picks up steam.
He noted that 3 million people are currently registered to receive vaccinations and that those over the age of 60 will receive priority due to their vulnerability and be ranked higher regardless of when they registered for vaccination.