A shipment of Covid-19 vaccine developed by China’s Sinopharm arrived in Hungary on Tuesday, making it the first member of the European Union (EU) to receive a Chinese vaccine.

The 550,000 vaccine doses would be enough to treat 275,000 people with the two-dose jab, Dr Agnes Galgoczy of the National Public Health Centre told a press conference.

The shipment was welcomed at the Liszt Ferenc International Airport by Tamas Menczer, state secretary from the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Chinese Ambassador to Hungary Qi Dayu.

“We are the first country in the EU that uses [the] Sinopharm vaccine. We try to save lives and preserve the economy, and we are fighting together with our Chinese friends against Covid-19,” Menczer told Xinhua. “It is a very important day for Hungary.”

Dayu said that China and Hungary were fighting the coronavirus side by side and the vaccines arriving embodied China’s commitments to making its vaccine a global public good.

Hungary announced on January 29 that it had signed a deal to buy China’s Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine, which would allow the vaccination of 2.5 million people.

With the Sinopharm vaccine, Hungarians will have access to five vaccines against Covid-19. Hungary has also become the first EU member state to buy and authorise the use of Chinese vaccines.

On Tuesday, Hungary registered 823 new Covid-19 cases in a 24-hour span, raising the national total to 389,622, according to the government’s website.

Meanwhile, 85 people died from the virus, taking the death toll to 13,837 in the country, while 298,773 have recovered.

Currently, 3,979 patients were being treated in hospitals, and 318 of them were on ventilators, it added.