Vaccination among the military and the Hungarian Armed Forces’ civilian employees is approaching 100 percent, the ministry’s defense news portal stated on Wednesday.
“The Hungarian Armed Forces, as one of the largest employers in the country, feels obliged to guarantee the health and safe working conditions of all its employees, and thus the protection of the community,” the ministry wrote in a statement. “The vaccination program takes priority, protecting and ensuring the operability and availability of the Hungarian Armed Forces.”
Due to the national vaccination program and individual conscious responsibility, the vaccination rate is currently 99 percent among soldiers and 98 percent among civilian defense personnel, the ministry added.
An October government ordinance made it compulsory for employees of state and municipal institutions to take the first vaccination by Dec. 1, 2021.
Employees who have not done so, or who have not been granted an exemption from it twice, will be sent on unpaid leave from Jan. 1, 2022. At the same time, the soldiers will be placed in the disposal of the Hungarian Armed Forces by virtue of the law.
For employees who take the vaccination during the period of unpaid leave and can prove it with documentation, the employer terminates the unpaid leave.
Hungary has one of the highest death rates from COVID-19 in the world per one million population and while the fourth wave of the pandemic seems to have peaked, the number of cases of the more infectious Omicron variant is on the rise.