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Serbian president says first batch of Russian Sputnik V anti-COVID vaccine delivered

Aleksandar Vucic also stated that he was not taking into account recommendations from Brussels regarding the choice of the offered anti-COVID vaccines
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic Alexander Shcherbak/TASS
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic
© Alexander Shcherbak/TASS

BELGARDE, December 4. /TASS/. A pilot batch of the Russian Sputnik V anti-coronavirus vaccine of 20 doses was delivered to Serbia, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said.

"Our task is to provide vaccines and let people make their choice as every vaccine, which will be officially registered in major states, is good," Vucic said in an interview with Serbian television channel RTS late on Thursday.

"I can deliver exclusive information by saying that today a first batch of the Russian vaccine, 20 doses, was delivered to Serbia," Vucic said.

The Serbian president also stated that he was not taking into account recommendations from Brussels regarding the choice of the offered anti-COVID vaccines.

"It does not interest me at all; I respect Brussels, but I love Serbia more, and I love the most people living in Serbia," Vucic said, when asked by journalists, whether Serbia would decide to make a choice of the Russian vaccine over the one from China.

"If we manage to save another life, I’ll be able to withstand any reprimand from Brussels. From Brussels, Washington, Moscow and Beijing," he continued.

"If I decided against the Russian or Chinese vaccine over the opinion of Brussels, how would I go to sleep knowing that people, who could have been saved, are dying; how would I have lived with that?" Vucic added.

The Serbian leader also stated that the delivered batch of the Russian Sputnik V anti-coronavirus vaccine would be thoroughly examined by Serbian experts, who would decide whether it should be used for the national population.

Vucic announced on August 11 that he was ready to be the first to test the Russian anti-coronavirus vaccine "when Serbian specialists say it is good." On November 12, he said his country had agreed on the purchase of 1.8 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and was negotiating possible purchase of vaccines from China and Russia.

On August 11, Russia registered the world’s first vaccine against the novel coronavirus. The vaccine, dubbed Sputnik V, was developed by the Gamaleya National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Russian Health Ministry, and its clinical trials were successfully completed in June-July.

The Russian health ministry said on August 15 that production of the vaccine had been launched. The third, post-registration, stage of clinical tests began in Moscow on September 7. Volunteers were inoculated with the first dose of the vaccine on September. As many as 40,000 people are involved in the trials, with 10,000 of them being inoculated with a placebo.

According to the interim test results, the vaccine’s efficiency exceeds 95% on the 42nd day after inoculation with the first dose in case the patient received the second dose as well.

Orders for more than 1.2 billion doses of the Sputnik V vaccine have come from more than 50 countries. International partners of the Russian Direct Investment Fund in India, Brazil, China, South Korea and other countries will manufacture the vaccine for exports.

Two domestically-developed anti-coronavirus vaccines have been registered in Russia. One of them, Sputnik V, was developed by the Gamaleya National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Russian Health Ministry, the other one, Epivaccorona, was developed by the Vector Center.

Another one, developed by the Chumakov Federal Scientific Center for Research and Development of Immune and Biological Products is expected to be registered soon.

Global coronavirus crisis

In late December 2019, Chinese officials informed the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.

On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 65,418,220 people have been infected worldwide and more than 1,509,430 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 45,266,290 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.