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Czech PM says Sputnik V can be used not waiting for EMA approval

In a couple of months other EU member states will want to have Sputnik V, said Andrej Babis
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis EPA-EFE/MARTIN DIVISEK
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis

PRAGUE, February 28. /TASS/. The Czech Republic can begin to use the Russian Sputnik V anti-coronavirus vaccine not waiting for its registration with the European Medicines Agency (EMA), Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Sunday.

"It might be sufficient to receive the approval from the Czech pharmaceutical regulator (the State Institute for Drug Control - TASS). Why should we wait for [a decision] of the European Medicines Agency?," he said in an interview with the CNN Prima. "The Russian vaccine manufacturer will not apply to the EMA for Sputnik V registration. <…> Believe me, in a couple of months other EU member states will want to have Sputnik V. I said that at a meeting of the European Council."

He stressed he is confident in the Russian vaccine. He recalled that in the socialist bloc era, people in the Czech Republic had been inoculated with Soviet vaccines and there had been no claims to their quality and efficacy. He noted that the anti-Sputnik V campaign was politically or ideologically motivated.

"We have people who want to be inoculated with Sputnik V. Sixty-five world nations want to have the Russian vaccine, six of them are European Union members," he said, adding he had spoken with Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov in early February about possible supplies of Sputnik V.

"We are working [to have the Russian vaccine as soon as possible]. The State Institute for Drug Control will consider the vaccine’s documents and after that the health ministry is to issue a permit for the use of the vaccine [in the Czech Republic]," he noted.

Czech President Milos Zeman told CNN Prima on Saturday he had sent a letter to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin asking to supply Sputnik V to the Czech Republic. He said it would be done soon.

The Czech health minister said earlier on Sunday that the country’s coronavirus-related death toll had reached 20,339 and the overall coronavirus tally stood at 1,235,480.

The vaccination campaign against the novel coronavirus infection kicked off in the Czech Republic on December 27, 2020. Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines are being used.