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World

Hungary's drug regulator approves China’s Sinopharm vaccine

  • The government opened the door to the Chinese vaccine on Thursday when it announced that it would grant emergency use approval to any shot already administered to at least a million people anywhere in the world.
  • “We have practically made an agreement with Sinopharm,” Gulyas said. “The first shipment could include up to one million doses.”
29 Jan 2021

Hungary’s drug regulator has approved a coronavirus vaccine made by China’s Sinopharm, surgeon general Cecilia Muller told a briefing on Friday.

The government opened the door to the Chinese vaccine on Thursday when it announced that it would grant emergency use approval to any shot already administered to at least a million people anywhere in the world.

With this move, Hungary became the first EU country to accept a Chinese vaccine.

Under European Union rules it would have to give an ultra-fast emergency use approval, rather than waiting for the European drug regulator EMA to give the go-ahead for the Chinese vaccine.

Britain took a similar approach in December before it exited the bloc. It approved Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 2, jumping ahead of the rest of the world in the race to begin a mass inoculation programme.

Hungary’s nationalist government has sharply criticised the EU for what it said were way too slow vaccine purchases and deliveries that now threatened an economic rebound.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff Gergely Gulyas told a briefing on Thursday that vaccine shipments under the EU’s programme were arriving too slowly, with weekly shipments of less than 100,000 doses, and Hungary would continue talks with Russia and China about additional vaccine purchases.

“We have practically made an agreement with Sinopharm,” Gulyas said. “The first shipment could include up to one million doses.”

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