Hungary to offer third dose of COVID-19 vaccine

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Hungary will offer the option of taking a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine from Aug. 1 and will make coronavirus vaccines mandatory for all healthcare workers, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told state radio on Friday.

Orban said doctors will decide which vaccine people should take as a third dose, and it should come at least 4 months after the second shot, unless doctors advise otherwise.

Hungary, a country of 10 million, has been among the fastest countries in the European Union to inoculate the public, as the only EU state to widely deploy Russian and Chinese vaccines before they received approval from the bloc’s regulator. It has also used Western-made shots from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

As of Thursday, Hungary had inoculated more than 5.55 million of its people, while the number of total cases rose to 808,661 with 30,013 deaths.

The vaccination drive has slowed in the past weeks. Orban has said that in the first days of September, before the school year start, vaccines will be offered to children aged 12 to 16 at all schools.

Photo: A doctor puts on protective gear in a ward designated for Covid-19 cases in Honved Hospital during the coronavirus pandemic in Budapest, Hungary. EPA-EFE/ZOLTAN BALOGH