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Drive for More Vaccinations Continues

Government

At center right, Minister of Innovation and Technology László Palkovics (also president of the Foundation for the University of Debrecen) at the laying of the foundation stone of the National Vaccine Factory at the University of Debrecen innovation park on September 5. With him are (from left): László Pósán, Fidesz MP; László Papp, Mayor of Debrecen (Fidesz-KDNP); Zoltán Szilvássy, Rector of the university; Lajos Kósa, Fidesz MP; Zoltán Bács, chancellor of the university, and State Secretary for Economic Strategy and Regulation László György, of the Ministry of Innovation and Technology. Photo by Zsolt Czeglédi / MTI

Photo by Zsolt Czeglédi / MTI

The Hungarian Medical Chamber (MOK) has submitted a four-point proposal to the operational corps, offering recommendations to prevent the potential fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic from causing mass illness.

To effectively control and prevent the spread of COVID-19, MOK recommended that vaccination points be set up in high-traffic areas where vaccines could be taken without registration.

In the countryside, the chamber urges the launch of vaccination buses, which can also be used without registration. Those who take the vaccine in small settlements could be rewarded with a few thousand forints or a food package. MOK has also pushed for the introduction of compulsory vaccination for some target groups.

The president of the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce (MKIK), László Parragh, had also stated earlier that vaccination ought to be mandatory for certain professions, particularly those with high traffic, face-to-face interactions.

Wizz Air recently announced that it would require all cabin crew to be vaccinated against the coronavirus from December 1. The new rule is being introduced to protect the health and safety of passengers and staff and to ensure the smooth operation of Wizz Air flights, the company said.

As part of the EU package of COVID vaccines, shipments of the Pfizer vaccine have continued to roll in weekly. Pfizer Gyógyszerkereskedelmi said the latest shipment raised total deliveries of the Comirnaty vaccine to Hungary to more than 8.5 million doses.

It added that 1.5 million doses of the vaccine had been delivered in the first quarter, more than 4.6 million doses in the second quarter, and 3.2 million doses in the third quarter.

Hungarian Vaccines

Notably, Minister for Innovation and Technology László Palkovics announced that vaccine production could begin in Hungary by the end of next year at the National Vaccine Factory, when the cornerstone of the plant was laid in the innovation park of the University of Debrecen on September 6.

Detailing the benefits of the investment, the minister said it would provide a safe supply of domestic vaccines on a lasting basis and offer effective and economical protection against possible future pandemics and local epidemics while also creating jobs.

Meanwhile, as the majority of Hungarians have been vaccinated, workers return to offices, and children have returned to schools, many have started to reflect. According to an online survey conducted by Huawei Technologies and IPSOS, more than half of Hungarians felt they had suffered negative effects from the pandemic and restrictions on their mental and physical condition.

Some 48% of respondents said they spent much more time in front of a computer or TV during the lockdowns. In addition to deteriorating their physical condition, this also affected social relationships and mental health. Respondents reported gaining an average of about 7.2 kg.

This corroborates with another representative study by peakshop.hu, which reported that the proportion of overweight people in the adult population of Hungary had increased significantly by 7% since the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic.

According to the results, women gained an average of 4 kg, while men had gained 3 kg since 2019. Today, 62% of the adult population is overweight or obese. Such a change, in such a short period, is in itself concerning, but particularly so given that being overweight is a significant risk factor for coronavirus patients.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of September 10, 2021.

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