- 29 Oct 2021 6:48 AM
- Hungary Matters
The state, as an employer, will also apply the measure, and mayors will have the right to introduce the requirement at local councils, Gergely Gulyás told a regular press briefing.
He said the government has also decided to make mask-wearing mandatory on public transport again from Nov. 1, and to introduce a ban on visitors at hospitals.
The measures are aimed at encouraging as many people as possible to get vaccinated. All epidemic projections show that during the fourth wave the number of infections could jump significantly and the number of patients who need hospitalisation or ventilator care could also increase, so the situation requires the introduction of new measures, he said.
The number of infections is lower in countries with a higher vaccination rate and “the lower the vaccination rate, the more tragic the situation becomes” Gulyás said.
Hungary is among the best in the region but still below the EU average, he said. Giving employers the right to require vaccination has been recommended by employers’ associations, he added.
Refusniks May Face Unpaid Leave, the Sack
Employees who refuse to get vaccinated can be forced to take unpaid leave, and if the situation persists for more than a year while the requirement still in force, then their employment can be terminated, Gergely Gulyás, the prime minister’s chief of staff, told a government press briefing.
He said the measure was justified because the vaccination rate had to be increased in order to fight the fourth wave and prevent future waves of the epidemic.
More than ten organisations have requested its introduction in the area of tourism, as well as the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, he added.
The first shot will have to be administered by Dec. 15 and the measure will stay in force until “the epidemic stays with us”, he said.
Mandatory vaccination will be standard practice in state companies and large state-run systems, such as among teachers, he said, adding that the vaccination rate in Budapest was around 80%.
In response to a question, he said a study was still in preparation to assess why the Covid mortality rate was higher in Hungary than in Austria.
Some hospitals have already introduced bans for visitors but exceptions would be maintained, for instance, in the case of visits to people nearing death.
Postponing scheduled operations or reopening the epidemic hospital of Kiskunhalas has not been discussed because there is still a sufficient number of free hospital beds, he added.
Without citing exact figures, Gulyás said there were “plenty of free ventilators available” in Hungary.
He also said that the government was not planning to make PCR testing free of charge and he ruled out another nationwide lockdown.
MTI Photo: Tibor Illyés