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Serbia to begin packaging Sputnik V vaccine in 2-3 months, official says

Phase Two, involving the full production cycle, will require new consultations with the Russian specialists

BELGRADE, February 12. /TASS/. The Torlak Institute of Virology, Vaccines and Sera in Belgrade will begin packaging the Russian Sputnik V vaccine in two-three months, the press service of Serbian Minister of Innovation and Technological Development, head of an intergovernmental cooperation committee Nenad Popovic reported on Friday.

"Phase One of production of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine in the territory of Serbia has been preliminarily approved. Phase One will include transportation of the substance from Russia, filling the vials at the Torlak Institute, packaging and distribution in Serbia and the region. According to evaluations of Russian experts, this process may be implemented in the next two-three months," the press service quoted the minister as saying.

Phase Two, involving the full production cycle, will require new consultations with the Russian specialists. A new delegation of Russian experts will arrive in Serbia in 10-15 days, the minister pointed out.

On February 11, a delegation of Russian experts arrived in Serbia to evaluate the country’s capabilities of producing the Sputnik V vaccine locally. The delegation included representatives of the Russian Industry and Trade Ministry, leading technologists of the Gamaleya Center and leadership of the Russian Direct Investment Fund. As Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko told a TASS correspondent on Wednesday, the delegation will evaluate the situation in the near future and will submit forecasts on production schedule of the Russian preparation.

According to the Serbian Health Ministry, a full-scale production of the vaccine in the country will begin before the end of the year.

On December 31, the Medicines and Medical Devices Agency of Serbia (ALIMS) issued a permit for the use of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus, and on January 6, inoculation with the Russian preparation was launched in the country. Sputnik V enjoys enormous popularity among the Serbian population, over 40% of those who registered to get inoculated indicated that they wanted to receive precisely the Russian vaccine.