A closer look at improving Covid statistics in Hungary as vaccination campaign stalled
Vaccination campaign stands
Hungary’s immunization program has also hit a wall, and the government is launching another HUF 16 billion campaign to promote the vaccines. The whole idea of lifting the lockdowns was and still is based on vaccination ‘steps’, and although Hungary excels in immunization coverage, even in global terms, some of those ‘steps’ are almost 100% complete. to lack. (Not to mention the recurring criticism that other, more important measures should have been taken into account when deciding to reopen the stages.)
We’re going to deliver a million doses in seven to ten days after the start of May, reaching 5 million, then we will reach 6 million by mid-May and 7 million by the third week of May.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on public radio on April 9. He got a little carried away, we can say with hindsight.
We’re not even at 5.2 million with the first doses, and there are still over three million unvaccinated adults in Hungary, and most of them have no intention of getting bitten. This is a problem because even with the 800,000 official infections – or let’s be generous / pessimistic and say up to two million Hungarians have been infected so far – Hungary remains far from the herd immunity threshold of 80 to 90% required by the British variant, and with Indian variant already in Hungary. Some say the multiplier could actually be 6 or 7 rather than 3 or 4 (see more on that below), in which case that’s a whole different story.
The following graph includes the percentage of the Hungarian population who received their first and second doses, as well as a 14-day average of these figures. Why 14 days? Because you will have some level of protection 14-21 days after the first jab, and full protection 10-14 days after the second. Therefore, the lines give you a better idea of the actual “immunity” of those who have been inoculated. However, more precise figures can be obtained by taking into consideration the effectiveness of the different vaccines administered.
(Here’s a rough estimate, though. Pfizer: 95-96%; Moderna: 94-95%; Sputnik V: 93-94%; Astra Zeneca’s Novavax: 88-90%; Sinopharm: uh, who knows; 75- 80% (?); Janssen: 75-85%. Their weighted average could be around 90%.)
And here’s a twin chart. The one on the left is the same as the one above but only for May. The zones show the 14 day averages and the lines the normal percentage of the population vaccinated with the 1st and 2nd doses.
The graph on the right is a snapshot of vaccination coverage on June 1, i.e. the share of the population that can be considered [partly or fully] protected after their respective first and second jabs.
Vaccinate children and adolescents
And this is where immunization of children and adolescents comes in.
Today, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) adopted a technical report on vaccinating adolescents against COVID-19. The report presents a set of key elements to consider when reviewing adolescent vaccination against COVID-19.
According to the report, vaccination of adolescents at high risk of severe COIVD-19 should be considered a priority, as for other age groups.
This report follows the positive opinion of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on the use of BioNTech / Pfizer vaccines for 12-15 year olds, and the adoption by the Commission of a marketing authorization the amended conditional contract, reflecting the positive opinion of the EMA.
Hungary has so far approved the use of Comirnaty (by Pfizer / BioNTech) for adolescents aged 16 to 18.
The country has more than 1.4 million children between the ages of 0 and 14, and some experts say that sooner or later they – especially those with conditions that increase the risk of severe COVID-19 – should also be vaccinated not only to make them immune to SARS. -CoV-2 but also to prevent new variants from developing among them and also to help the country reach the threshold of hearing immunity (currently estimated at 80 to 90%).
On May 20, the European Commission confirmed a new agreement with Pfizer / BioNTech for the possible purchase of up to 1.8 billion doses until 2023, after 600 million doses ordered through the two previous contracts.
Hungary was the only country in the bloc to withdraw from the joint purchase. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s chief of staff, Gergely Gulyás, said that although a booster was needed, “there are also many vaccines from eastern and western sources,” he said. Orbán has close ties to Russia and China, and Hungary had given the green light for the use of their shots before authorization from the EMA or the World Health Organization (WHO).
Although Hungary currently estimates that it has sufficient doses of Comirnaty, the vaccine remains effective for six months even if stored (before dilution) at -90 ° C to -60 ° C in its original packaging, at the away from light.
Moderna said its COVID-19 vaccine is considered safe and highly effective in children aged 12 to 17. Sinopharm said in early March that it had completed clinical trials for groups aged 3 to 17 and would submit its data for approval soon. No details of the trial were disclosed and unless Hungary again chooses to proceed without EMA approval, the use of BBIBP-CorV for children may not be an option for a while.
As for the Russian Sputnik V, it has not yet been cleared for use for children, but the director of its developer Gamaleya Research Center said in february that the formulation of the vaccine for children would not change, even if the strengths of the preparation differed by age. He also specified that research would be carried out this time on a nasal form of this vaccine, which, most likely, will also initially be recommended for children.
In hospital, on ventilator, active cases
The focus is also on the number of active cases, of people infected with the coronavirus in hospitals and on ventilators, in all kinds of aspects and ratios, using various averages.
The first two charts show the daily readings and their 3-day averages. There is a red flag on the graph to the left, not literally, however. The warning sign is that the curve showing the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized and requiring mechanical ventilation has started to flatten in the past three to four days, i.e. the rate of decline goes to stagnation.
The graph on the right shows the ratio of people hospitalized to active cases and people on ventilators to people hospitalized. The general observation is that the first digit has been going down all month, but there seems to be stagnation at the end of May, and the other ratio has hovered between 11 and 13% throughout the past month (although it fell to 10.6% yesterday, but the 3-day average remains above 11%).
Here are the same numbers, only with 7-day averages.
The calculations in the following charts are based on 7-day averages.
The first graph shows the ratios of the 7-day averages: [the 7-day average of a given day – 7-day average of the previous day] / Average over 7 days of the previous day.
What we are seeing is that the number of active cases has decreased more than the number of people hospitalized, that is, when we see an increase in the number of recoveries from the coronavirus, it is mainly because general practitioners report them. (The changes in the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital and on ventilators have largely been in tandem.)
The following table, well, it’s a little more complicated.
Simply put, these are the ratios of changes (curves) that you see above. The blue line: orange / green, i.e. variation in the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized by variation of active cases (with 7-day averages). Red line: blue / orange (on ventilator, 7-day average) / in hospital (7-day average). Wherever ratios are greater than 100% (everywhere), the numerator is greater than the denominator, that is, the rate at which they discharge Covid patients from hospitals (including those who are reported recovered by GPs) is greater than the rate at which active cases are declining. This means that an increasingly smaller percentage of active cases are hospitalized.
Changes in test positivity
And the charts attacking the positivity rate. There are many, with averages over 3 days, 5 days, 7 days, 10 days, 14 days and 21 days.
First, here are the ones that highlighted the changes over the past two weeks, and then four more that encompass May as a whole.
There was a marked drop in the positivity rate until May 25 but the momentum seems to have broken down and the curve is starting to flatten.
Stagnation on these charts may or may not be the first sign of a turnaround. We’ll have to wait at least another week to see if this is the fourth wave or not.
On the Facebook page of Balázs Pártos, which is also the source of some of these charts and most of the analytical remarks, someone pointed out that around 37% of the Hungarian adult population have already received their second vaccine, and that the actual number of those who have recovered from the infection could be 6 to 7 times higher than the official figure rather than “only” 3 to 4 times higher.
If he’s right, there won’t be a fourth wave at all
, commented Pártos.
“Everything is going well so far, and if he’s right, we’ll find out why the third wave ran out of steam in mid-April.
But it remains a mystery why the second wave stopped in mid-December . There were far fewer infections and no one was vaccinated at the time.
Scroll down a bit – while checking out the following tables, of course – to learn more about the progress of the vaccination campaign in Hungary.
And let’s see these columns and curves for the whole month of May.
Cover photo: Getty Images