Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said Friday a third dose of COVID-19 vaccines will be allowed starting Aug. 1. File Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI | License Photo
July 16 (UPI) -- Hungary has approved a third COVID-19 vaccine shot that would be administered on a case-by-case basis, after local media reported Hungarians vaccinated with China's Sinopharm vaccine did not reach the required level of antibodies against the novel coronavirus.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said Friday during an interview with Kossuth Rádió that the government will allow a third dose to be administered starting Aug. 1, four months after a second vaccination.
Orbán said doctors would decide whether vaccine recipients would receive a third dose. The Hungarian leader also said vaccinations for frontline health workers are to be mandatory in the country, Hungary's news site Index reported.
The prime minister's approval for a third shot of a COVID-19 vaccine comes after local news service Hungary Today reported Friday some Hungarians who have received the Sinopharm vaccine have a "complete lack of immunity to the coronavirus."
A Hungarian Facebook group, "Vaccinated with Sinopharm with Negative Laboratory Tests Results," has more than 6,000 members, the report said.
Hungary began to inoculate citizens with the Sinopharm vaccine in February, making it the first member of the European Union to approve a Chinese vaccine for public use.
Local tests reportedly showed the vaccine may be too weak to fight off the virus, however.
Ottó Sinkó, co-chief executive of Videoton, a Hungarian firm with 8,000 employees, told online financial journal Portfolio that company-wide testing showed that only one-third of employees who received the Chinese vaccine had sufficient levels of antibodies.
About 1 million Hungarians, including senior citizens, were vaccinated with Sinopharm, according to Hungary Today.
Other countries, including Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Israel, have endorsed third vaccine doses.