BUDAPEST, Hungary — Hungary’s prime minister says a deal to purchase Chinese coronavirus vaccines could be concluded as early as Friday, which would make Hungary the first country in the European Union to purchase a vaccine from China.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on public radio that his government is monitoring the use of a vaccine developed by Chinese state-owned company Sinopharm in neighboring Serbia, which became the first European country to administer the drug after it received 1 million doses earlier this month.
Hungary’s drug regulator has not yet approved the Sinopharm vaccine. But a decree ordered by the government on Thursday streamlined the approval procedure by allowing any vaccine that had been administered to at least 1 million people to be used in Hungary.
Orban said he would personally choose to be inoculated with the Sinopharm vaccine since he trusted it the most.
Hungary last week was the first EU member to approve the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, and has ordered doses to treat 1 million people over the next three months. Orban has been critical of the EU’s vaccine procurement program and insisted that countries that pursue their own vaccine agreements are faring better.