Hungary said Thursday it will offer a fourth coronavirus vaccine dose to citizens, after a consultation with a doctor amid a rapid rise in COVID-19 infection cases.
Denmark is the first EU country to offer a fourth dose to citizens.
“Anyone can get a fourth coronavirus jab based on a consultation with a doctor,” said Gergely Gulyas, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff.
“The (government) decree about this will be published this week,” Gulyas told a press briefing in Budapest.
Gulyas said the Omicron variant of the virus has begun to spread fast in the Central European EU member, with infection numbers in the so-called “fifth wave” expected to rise further in the coming weeks.
However the government does not expect a rapid increase in hospitalisations and deaths, he added.
In Hungary, more than 40,000 people infected with coronavirus have died, making the 9.8-million population country one of the hardest hit EU member states, according to AFP data.
On Thursday Hungary reported over 9,200 new cases, up from around 7,900 the day before according to official numbers.
Budapest ordered mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all health workers last July, but the fourth jab will not be compulsory, even for health staff, said Gulyas.
Over 2,600 coronavirus patients are currently in hospital, with 249 on ventilators, he said.
Orban, who has been criticised for not imposing tighter anti-virus restrictions to stave off the latest wave, said last month that he hoped three doses would be enough.
Mask-wearing is mandatory on public transport and in enclosed spaces but enforcement is limited.
© 2022 AFP
Hungary to offer fourth virus jab as Omicron spreads (2022, January 13)
retrieved 13 January 2022
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