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Hungary is First EU Nation to Get Covid-19 Vaccine from China's Sinopharm

An employee answers questions from the public near samples of a Covid-19 vaccine produced by Sinopharm subsidiary CNBG during a trade fair in Beijing . (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

An employee answers questions from the public near samples of a Covid-19 vaccine produced by Sinopharm subsidiary CNBG during a trade fair in Beijing . (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Hungary expects to receive 5 million total doses of the Sinopharm vaccine over the next four months.

A shipment of a COVID-19 vaccine produced in China arrived in Hungary on Tuesday morning, making the country the first in the European Union to receive a Chinese vaccine. A jet carrying 550,000 doses of the vaccine, developed by the Chinese state-owned company Sinopharm, landed in Budapest after flying from Beijing. The shipment is enough to treat 275,000 people with the two-dose vaccine, head of the Epidemiology Department of the National Public Health Centre, Dr Agnes Galgoczy, said at a press conference.

Hungary expects to receive 5 million total doses of the Sinopharm vaccine over the next four months. The country has sought to purchase vaccines from countries outside the EU's common procurement programme, claiming that delays in the bloc's rollout is costing lives.

The Sinopharm vaccine, which the developer says is nearly 80% effective, is already in use in Hungary's non-EU neighbour Serbia, where around half a million ethnic Hungarians have already received the jab. Hungary has also agreed to purchase 2 million doses of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, which hospitals began administering in Budapest last week.

first published:February 16, 2021, 17:19 IST