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Czech health minister refuses to authorize Sputnik V use without EMA approval

By late August, the country plans to vaccinate up to 85% of its residents

PRAGUE, March 11. /TASS/. Czech Health Minister Health Minister Jan Blatny refused to authorize the use of Russia’s Sputnik V anti-coronavirus vaccine without prior approval of the European Medicines Agency, the Czech Television reported.

"I will not make Sputnik V an exception from current rules of registering medicines for use in the Czech Republic," the minister told members of the Czech parliament’s lower house on Wednesday. "My stance will remain unchanged a long as I hold the ministerial post. Only medicines approved by EMA will be used for vaccination in the republic."

According to Blatny, Czech Republic has received 1,274,250 doses of vaccines, authorized for use on the EU territory. By late August, the country plans to vaccinate up to 85% of its residents.

In an interview with Parlamentni listy published earlier on Wednesday, Czech President Milos Zeman said he would ask Prime Minister Andrej Babis to sack Blatny for obstructing plans to purchase Sputnik V before its use is formally authorized by EMA. Commenting on the information, the premier said he planned no changes in his cabinet.

On December 27, 2020, the country started vaccination against coronavirus. So far, about 900,000 residents have been vaccinated. The country with a population of 10.46 million receives vaccines produced by Pfizer and BioNTech, Moderna, as well as AstraZeneca.