Hungary became the first European Union country to start administering a coronavirus vaccine from the Chinese firm Sinopharm on Wednesday.
In the next seven days, 275,000 people are to be vaccinated with the drug, which is not approved in the EU, according to chief medical officer Cecilia Mueller.
“We are taking an important step to protect the population from the coronavirus,” she said.
In Hungary, the vaccines from BioNtech/Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca, as well as the Russian vaccine Sputnik V, have been used on the population so far.
Right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban is increasingly relying on Russian and Chinese products. They were granted emergency licenses in Hungary, reportedly without a substantial independent review.
The administration of the Sinopharm vaccine, which began on Wednesday, is being carried out by general practitioners and on a voluntary basis.
“Little information is available about the effectiveness of the vaccination,” a Budapest family doctor wrote in an email to his patients.
Hungary has ordered 2 million doses of Sputnik V from Russia and 5 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from China. Hungary has just under 10 million inhabitants.