Hungary becomes first in EU to approve Russian Covid-19 vaccine

Hungary becomes first in EU to approve Russian Covid-19 vaccine

Hungary became the first European Union nation to approve Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine as Prime Minister Viktor Orban takes a pre-election risk to accelerate the country’s exit from the coronavirus crisis.

Hungary’s drug regulator granted emergency approval for Russia’s Sputnik V and also to the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca Plc, Cabinet Minister Gergely Gulyas said at a briefing on Thursday. The decision followed pressure by Orban to fast-track the process and skirt the EU, which has yet to authorize either one, Bloomberg reported.

"We only want to procure vaccines that have been already used on several million people and ones that Hungarian authorities deemed safe and effective and that they’ve approved," Cabinet Minister Gulyas said.

Getting Hungarians to trust vaccines is also a challenge after Orban, an early supporter of Russia’s Sputnik, said people wouldn’t be told which doses they’d be getting. Citizens will be able to choose which vaccine they’d like to receive, Gulyas said on Thursday.

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