During the coronavirus pandemic, the government announced that a vaccine factory would be built in Debrecen, where they would be able to produce vaccines not only against the coronavirus but also against other diseases, thus reducing Hungary’s external dependence on purchasing vaccines. Moreover, the government promised no less than the possibility of starting production of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine (for which the country will receive the technology from the Russian authorities) at the plant as early as December 2022.
It’s been about a year since that date, but there hasn’t been much recent news about what’s going on with the vaccine factory. Prime Minister Gergely Gulyas Gulyas was asked about this at a spring government briefing, but the only thing he said was that there is still a debate about what is being produced, because a vaccine against the coronavirus is no longer worth it.
The representative of the Democratic Coalition, Zoltan Varga, asked in Parliament on Monday whether “the national vaccine factory will be built at all?” The representative said that construction has stopped, but costs continue to rise, and pointed to the fact that the factory in Debrecen is called “another Fidesz payment place” in rumors, where “millions of payments are made mostly by Fidesz wives, lovers, girlfriends and relatives” picking up. (The previous year, 22 employees received a total of 321 million HUF in wages, according to the representative.)
In response, Esther Vitalius, Parliamentary State Secretary for the Ministry of Culture and Innovation, described the actor’s words as “tasteless and baseless left-wing accusations” and then declared:
The investment is being carried out by the University of Debrecen, the structural structure of the hall will be completed by December 2022, and production equipment is currently being purchased.
The state minister said, “The works are progressing according to schedule, and the factory will be built.”
He did not say when production could begin. But it seems certain that the university will deliver a factory in the future that can support the operation of the vaccine factory by the end of this year.