The first 550,000 doses of the vaccine against Covid-19 from the Chinese manufacturer Sinopharm arrived in Budapest on Tuesday, said the head of the epidemiological department of the Hungarian public health, Agnes Galgoczi. Hungary is the first EU member to vaccinate its citizens with the Chinese vaccine.
It also became the first EU member to start using the Russian Sputnik V vaccine last week, after the Hungarian regulatory body approved the drug under an emergency procedure, without waiting for the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to give the green light.
The Chinese vaccine will be released immediately after the shipment is inspected, Galgoczi explained.
Budapest announced in January that it had reached an agreement with Sinopharm to purchase five million doses of the vaccine.
The government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban is trying to speed up the vaccination program, so far, three percent of Hungary's population has been vaccinated.
Orban said the day before that the vaccine from the EU was not arriving in Hungary quickly enough. He believes that it is therefore necessary to introduce vaccines from China and Russia.
"Any vaccine that is safe and has already vaccinated millions of people is good enough for us. If we are careful, we will be able to start easing the restrictive measures," Orban said.