"We have been producing chocolate rabbits for 5-6 years. But for the first time this year, we decorated them with chocolate vaccines. With this, we want to take a positive step forward in this difficult period of the virus."
6. Various of confectioner taking newly made chocolate syringes out of mold
"I didn't want to put a mask on the Easter bunny anymore. I no longer wanted to draw attention to the closure, but to the opening instead. To me, vaccination is the solution and an opportunity for a good future. Only the vaccine can cure the world. I think my product conveys this positive message."
13. Wide of Romoczi filling mold with melted chocolate
14. Close of Romoczi filling mold with melted chocolate
"I bought the smallest syringes at the pharmacy. After a little remodeling, I created the mold by myself using the real syringes. It wasn't an easy task to make the mold, which can host ten vaccines. But now, chocolate can be poured into the silicone mold easily, either milk or dark chocolate."
16. Tilt down to handmade chocolate Easter bunnies holding vaccine syringes
17. Wide of confectioner arranging chocolates in store
18. Pan of handmade chocolate Easter bunnies holding vaccine syringes
"Unfortunately, after the virus reached Hungary, culinary events were cancelled, and we lost most of our trading partners. Since most of the weddings have also been cancelled, cake making, which was always my main source of income, decreased significantly. Unfortunately, I had to terminate the contracts of all three of my employees. Now, I run the business alone."
20. Close of handmade chocolate Easter bunnies holding vaccine syringes
"I feel that after a lot of sad and negative things, it is very important to convey a positive message to my customers. If this can help motivate people to go and vaccinate themselves, I feel that my job is worthwhile."
23. Pan of store
24. Close of chocolate Easter bunnies holding vaccine syringes
25. Various of Rimoczi colouring chocolate syringes
With record-breaking new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Hungary, confectioner Laszlo Rimoczi was thinking how he could help, and urge more people to register for a COVID-19 vaccination.
So, this Easter, he's launching a new handmade product to convey a positive message - chocolate Easter bunnies holding vaccine syringes.
In this tiny chocolate workshop in the town of Lajosmizse, some 70 kilometres (42 miles) south of Budapest, this year's Easter bunnies hold vaccine syringes in their paws.
Hungary is in its third wave of the pandemic and vaccinations are in full swing.
Confectioner Rimoczi wanted to play his part in emphasising the importance of vaccination, while turning toward the future and recovery from the pandemic.
The vaccine symbolises a ray of hope, he says.
"I didn't want to put a mask on the Easter bunny anymore. I no longer wanted to draw attention to the closure, but to the opening instead," he says.
"To me, vaccination is the solution and an opportunity for a good future. Only the vaccine can cure the world. I think my product conveys this positive message."
Rimoczi's business, a small chocolate store attached to his workshop, suffered big losses as the pandemic hit last year.
He had to let all three of his employees go and is now running production and the store alone.
The confectioner says that, as with last year, 2021 will mostly be spent in his workshop in Lajosmizse.
He's not preparing to appear at various culinary events, as it's not possible to predict when lockdowns might end.
He says customer habits are slowly starting to change too - many more are looking for sweets for their own consumption because they're no longer receiving guests or organising family and social events.
"Since most of the weddings have also been cancelled, cake making, which was always my main source of income, decreased significantly," he says.
While Hungary has emerged as a European Union leader in COVID-19 vaccinations, new coronavirus cases are being detected at an all-time high, putting unprecedented strain on its healthcare system and resulting in skyrocketing COVID-19-related deaths.
Hungary's government hopes mass vaccination will bring an end to the surge in the pandemic, a strategy built on procuring vaccines from outside the European Union.
In February, the country became the first in the EU to begin using China's Sinopharm and Russia's Sputnik V vaccines.
According to the Johns Hopkins University tally, as of Friday (March 19), Hungary, which has a population of about ten million, has reported almost 550,000 coronavirus cases and over 17,500 related deaths.
As of Friday (March 19), nearly 1.5 million people had received at least a first shot, giving Hungary the 2nd highest vaccination rate in the European Union.
Hungary reported 10,759 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the highest daily total since the beginning of the pandemic.