Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said he is not afraid of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine because saving lives during the Covid-19 pandemic is more important than geopolitics.
“The pandemic must be fought with as much vaccine as possible – that we can acquire as quickly as possible,” Orban told Germany’s Focus magazine.
There is no Eastern or Western vaccine – there are only the good ones and bad ones. The Hungarian health authorities have run their tests and guarantee the effectiveness of the vaccine.
Orban said that he does not care where the vaccine comes from or who the manufacturer is. Once approved by Hungary, it becomes “a Hungarian vaccine I can use to save the lives of my compatriots.”
Talking about the tense relations between Moscow and the EU, Orban stressed that “the protection of life takes precedence over political aspects, over geopolitics.”
It is irresponsible to turn the vaccines into a political issue, and let people die and restrict their freedom, because there are political objections to the country of origin.
Budapest became the first EU country to start inoculating its citizens with Sputnik V earlier this month. It was also the first country of the bloc to receive the vaccine made by the Chinese company Sinopharm. Brussels, meanwhile, cautioned Hungary about accepting vaccines before their certification by the European Medicines Agency.
Orban argued that vaccine procurement and centralized rollout by the European Commission was “a wrong decision,” adding that the immunization campaigns in EU countries are slower than those in the US, Britain and Israel.
Brussels “does not adequately perceive the importance of the time factor,” he said. “It grants approvals too slowly, and is obviously not in a position of strength with its [vaccine] suppliers.”
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