3 months after his confirmed COVID-19 infection, Dr. Béla Merkely also received the vaccine against the coronavirus. The Rector of Semmelweis University, together with his four medical colleagues, was vaccinated by Dr. Attila Szabó, Vice-Rector for Clinical Affairs with the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. The Rector highlighted that the university management and staff would like to draw attention to the safety of vaccinations. Vaccinations at the university started on 26 December, 2020: as of today, 100% of the physicians working by patient beds, while 92% of the health care professionals are protected. As a result, the spread of the coronavirus was practically eliminated. Out of 5,800 health care workers, currently only 3 are absent due to COVID-19 infection, who have not previously been vaccinated.
The university has vaccinated health care workers of hospitals and health care providers ordered by the government (e.g., GPs, pediatricians, dentists, and their assistants) as well as the staff of the National Ambulance Service and residents of retirement homes. In addition, Semmelweis citizens (employees, students) have been vaccinated since 26 December 2020, based on the vaccination schedule set up by the National Public Health Centre. The university staff has so far administered 46,648 vaccines, and out of the employees and students, 10,409 have received at least the first shot. From February 4, 2021, the vaccination of the elderly over 80, signed up by their GPs in the capital also started on the university campus.
The vaccination is continuous for those university health care workers as well, who had had a confirmed COVID-19 infection more than three months ago and now are therefore authorized to be vaccinated. In this framework, Dr. Béla Merkely, Rector, Head of the Heart and Vascular Centre, who had been infected by the coronavirus last November, received the vaccine against COVID-19 together with four of his colleagues. The Sputnik V vaccine was administered by Dr. Attila Szabó, Vice-Rector for Clinical Affairs on 18 February, 2021 at the vaccination point set up in the Outer Clinical Block.
“It is extremely important that the leaders and staff of Semmelweis University demonstrate the safety and efficiency of vaccines through their own example: our aim is to increase public confidence in vaccines. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been used at the university since 26 December, 2020, then a batch of Moderna vaccines arrived on 14 January, 2021, which were primarily used in nursing homes. Now, the range of vaccines is expanded with Sputnik V.”, Dr. Béla Merkely highlighted.
Together with the Rector, four other physicians received the vaccine, who had recovered from the disease more than three months ago and are therefore authorized for being vaccinated: Dr. István Hartyánszky, Head of the Department of Cardiac Surgery at the Heart and Vascular Centre; Dr. Györgyi Csósza, cardiologist at the Department of Pulmonology; Dr. Szabolcs Tóth, physician at the Department of Transplantation and Surgery; and Dr. Vince Orbán, radiologist at the Medical Imaging Centre.
At Semmelweis University, recent experiences and results demonstrate that the institution has essentially eliminated the spread of the coronavirus among those working by the patient beds due to the 96.6% vaccination rate among health care workers. Currently, only three out of 5,800 health care workers are absent due to a confirmed infection, they have not yet received the vaccine before.
Pálma Dobozi, Eszter Kovács
Photo: Attila Kovács – Semmelweis University
Translation: Katalin Illés-Romhányi