Hungary will now become the first EU state to use the Chinese drug as it looks to increase its vaccine programme. In bold defiance of the EU, Hungary will use a vaccine which has not been approved by the European Medicines Agency. Hungary, which has often been a critic of the EU now hopes vaccine rates could rise quickly due to the introduction of the drug.
Istvan Gyorgy, head of the government’s vaccination workgroup told reporters: “In the next few days we can make a huge step forward in inoculations thanks to the Chinese vaccine.
“This means that within a week, the number of those who have received a vaccine could grow to over 800,000.”
The move to use the Chinese vaccine is a massive blow to the EU who despite authorising three vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Oxford University/AstraZeneca, has seen the rollout across the bloc falter.
Due to the bloc’s faltering vaccine rollout, Hungary revealed it had reached a deal to buy five million doses of the vaccine in January.
Hungary has also reached a deal for doses of Russia’s Sputnik vaccine, which has also not been approved by EU regulatory bodies.
Due to the struggling vaccine programme, Hungary, like the rest of the EU, is recording a slow vaccination rate.
According to figures from Our World in Data, the UK is vaccinating 27.03 people per 100.
In contrast, Hungary is recording a rate of 6.86 per 100.
Even outspoken MEP Guy Verhofstadt hit out at Brussels for how it had conducted the procurement programme.
He said: “I love the EU, no doubt about that.
“I think that in these troubled times, European integration is the only sensible way forward for our continent.
“But that doesn’t mean that we have to close our eyes when things go wrong.
“It’s our duty to be the most vocal critic, especially when Europe falls short of its potential, and of our expectations.
“And that’s exactly what is happening right now, with the EU vaccine strategy – a fiasco.”
In a further blow to the EU, Poland’s Health Minister Adam Niedzielski blamed the rising case numbers in the EU on the failed vaccine plan.
He Radio Zet: “In January, we accelerated, it was not such a problem, but at the moment, unfortunately, it can be said that the EU’s purchasing policy will be partly responsible for the fact that we have a third wave in Europe.”