EU vaccine row erupts: Hungary accuses Brussels of killing citizens with slow roll-out

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Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Hungary has ignored the bloc’s joint scheme to become the first European country to authorise Russia Sputnik Vaccine and the Oxford jab. In a scathing interview, the firebrand leader insisted he would not wait for bungling eurocrats to dish out doses while Hungarians are dying. Mr Orban said he had pushed on with authorising the Oxford jab and Russian vaccine because the European Medicines Agency had been too slow with its own approval.

He said: “Hungarians need the vaccine, not an explanation.

“Hungarians are not going to die because Brussels is slow in purchasing the vaccine.

“We need the vaccine because that means life.”

Mr Orban told Kossuth Radio Hungarians are used to efficiency while Brussels is more in tune with France’s slow-moving culture.

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The Hungarian Prime Minister said: “You cannot start with the problem that needs solving.

“First, the Union and the country must be praised, and only then can you talk about the issue at hand.”

Mr Orban suggested the EU should be ashamed that Britain, Israel and Russia have been able to roll-out their jabs at a faster rate.

The UK has administered more than 5.4 million first-dose jabs, with a rate of 8 doses per 100 people – more than five times the EU’s.

Germany has given 1.4 million vaccinations, Spain 1.03 million and France 692,000.

Hungary has only managed to successfully administer 138,000 Covid jabs, according to the latest figures.

Mr Orban asked: “Should we not face the facts?”

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He insisted he did not want to spark an all-out row with eurocrats while the pandemic continues to ravage the bloc.

But the Hungarian claimed member states would need to review whether Brussels’s bungling vaccine scheme had let them down.

“After the epidemic, there will be time for member states to examine whether or not it was a good decision to entrust the procurement of the vaccine to Brussels,” Mr Orban said.

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His remarks come after Hungary’s drug regulator gave initially approval for the Oxford jab and Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.

Budapest would become the EU’s first capital to receive and dish out the Russian jab.

The EU’s drugs watchdog is yet to green-light doses of the Sputnik V vaccine and is expected to approve the doses Oxford jab for use in Europe on January 29.

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