San Marino: Medical expert discusses Sputnik V rollout
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San Marino, while not an EU member, struck up agreements with the bloc for Pfizer and Moderna vaccine supplies which were delayed. The disruption meant San Marino signed a contract with Russia to supply Sputnik V. The vaccine has yet to be approved by the EU for use, however, since San Marino is independent it is able to strike deals with whoever they want.
As part of the agreement with the EU, San Marino was to be given one dose for every 1,700 sent to Italy.
But custom rules on vaccine exports and production issues slowed down the rollout meaning San Marino looked elsewhere.
Medical Director of San Marino State Hospital Sergio Rabbino said: “We chose the Sputnik vaccine because there was an agreement between us and Italy and the European Union for the supply of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
“Unfortunately they are delayed at the moment.
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“Therefore, given the excellent diplomatic relations with Russia, we have chosen to get the Sputnik V vaccine faster.
“We saw some excellent reviews from renowned international medical journals like the Lancet that have already tested the quality of this vaccine.”
San Marino Labour Minister Teodoro Lonfernini commented on the decision and said: “Being an independent state, even within the territory of Italy and the European Union, we have the right to make independent decisions.
“We have excellent relations with both with EU members and countries outside EU borders.
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“At the moment Europe’s showing an increased interest in the Sputnik vaccine and we’ve reached out instead of staying only inside the EU market.
“We acted in the interests of our own citizens and I’m sure that over time more states will draw conclusions and make similar decisions.
“For our part, we have complete confidence in the Russian vaccine.
“So we think these processes should be accelerated due to the critical circumstances in the EU, we simply did not have a vaccine, and we had to make a choice.”
Serbia and Hungary are two other European countries that have turned away from the EU vaccination programme.
Hungary has approved both Russian and Chinese jabs due to frustration over delays in EU procurement.
Serbia has been waiting for doses from both the EU and the World Health Organisation’s COVAX programme.
The Balkan state decided to strike deals directly with providers and has one of the best vaccine rates for its population in Europe.
Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca revealed it would not be able to reach its second-quarter target and would only be able to provide half of what they were asked.
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