Hungary has a leading vaccination rate among European Union (EU) countries thanks to Chinese and Russian COVID-19 vaccines, a Hungarian official has said.
About 2.6 million of Hungary's some 9.8 million population have been inoculated, Zoltan Kovacs, international spokesman for the Hungarian government, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview Thursday, adding "we are basically second on the European list of ranking."
"Without the Chinese and Russian vaccines, it would not have been possible," said Kovacs, who is also the secretary of state for international communication and relations.
On Hungarian government's position on vaccines, Kovacs said: "vaccines are not a political question. All vaccines that are reliable should be used as soon as possible to be able to fight the coronavirus."
That is why Hungary has decided to look to the East besides the European way of purchasing and developing vaccines, according to the official.
Hungary is the first EU member state to buy and authorize the use of Chinese vaccines.
Noting the vaccines' origins have no meaning, Kovacs said, "all that matters is the reliability of the effectiveness of the vaccines available."
The official said like Hungarian President Janos Ader and Prime Minister Viktor Orban, he was also inoculated with a Chinese vaccine.
"So far, that is completely safe and reliable, if it's on my behalf," said Kovacs.
"We basically doubled the speed of the European (Union's) vaccination program because of the Chinese and Russian vaccines," Kovacs added.
"It is a double dose of success and relief, because as I suggested, these vaccines are effective and reliable, and at the same time help Hungary and the Hungarians to restart their normal lives," said the official.