| 24 May 2024, Friday |

Hungary makes COVID-19 jabs mandatory for health workers

Walking the path of France and a few other European countries,  Hungary is ordering mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for all health workers, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday.

“We are not in favor of coercion, with the exception of one area, where we have made a decision that vaccination will be mandatory for healthcare workers,” said Orban in his weekly radio interview.

He did not say when the requirement would take effect.

France on Monday announced mandatory vaccinations for healthcare staff, retirement home workers and others working with vulnerable people from September in line with similar moves in Greece, Italy and Britain.

In Hungary, more than 30,000 people infected with coronavirus have died, making the 9.8-million population central European country one of the hardest-hit EU member states, according to AFP data.

But the EU member carried out one of the fastest vaccine rollouts in the 27-member bloc in part thanks to its use of the Chinese Sinopharm and Russian Sputnik V jabs.

The infection case numbers have dropped quickly since May while all coronavirus restrictions including mandatory mask-wearing indoors were lifted in early July.

Since June however the vaccination tempo has slowed. Orban said Friday that elderly people who have not taken the vaccine will be visited in person to offer them a jab.

A third shot will be made available to people four months past their second Covid jab from August 1.

Vaccinations will also be made available to those aged 12 and over in schools during the two days ahead of the start of the school year on September 1.