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The European Commission is providing €250 million (US $283 million) in aid to Hungary this year and €104 million (US $118 million) next year. These funds will allow for the purchase of 13 million coronavirus vaccine doses licensed by the European Medicines Agency, and financial overtime compensation for some 7,000 doctors and nurses during the outbreak, the Brussels body announced on Friday.

The Commission will provide the funding as part of the REACT-EU package, which will support the sectors and workers most affected by closures due to the epidemic.

A spokesperson for the European Commission confirmed that the 1.8 billion Biontech-Pfizer vaccine doses contracted between the pharmaceutical company and the European Union in May this year will be available to EU Member States, and will be shipped between 2021 and 2023.

This amount will be enough to provide a third booster dose for children between the ages of 5 and 11, as well as donate large number of vaccines to countries without the financial means to obtain them on their own.

Magyar Hang notes that it is now partly clear why the Hungarian government had previously opted out of the EU’s joint procurement of vaccines.

Previously, the Hungarian government had justified its withdrawal from the joint procurement process on the grounds that it considered Pfizer’s vaccine too expensive. The news source notes that letting the European Union pay the bill instead of Hungary gets around that obstacle.

[Népszava, Magyar Hang]

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By Steven N.

Steven is the editor-in-chief of Hungarian Politics. He has been following the political scene in Hungary and the Central European region more or less since 1994.