Representatives of the Czech Republic plan to discuss the efficacy of Russia’s vaccine against COVID-19, Sputnik V, with their colleagues from Hungary this week, Roman Prymula, a current health adviser to the prime minister and a former health minister, said on Monday.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund filed an application for Sputnik V registration in the EU in January, but so far Hungary is the only member state to greenlight the use of the vaccine. Other EU countries have been using Pfizer and Moderna vaccines after they were approved by the EU drug regulator. The union also added the AstraZeneca's vaccine to its toolbox on Friday, but deliveries of all three vaccines have been slow.
"When Sputnik V is approved for use in Europe, its deliveries to member states will again be centralized [via Brussels], we will have to queue up and receive the vaccine doses. To avoid this [and agree on the supplies directly from Russia], it is possible to get materials from Hungary now on how the Sputnik V vaccination is going on in this country. Last week, a discussion on this issue took place in our [Czech] Cabinet, and this week, negotiations with Hungarian partners are scheduled," Prymula told the Czech TV Seznam broadcaster.
According to Prymula, Prime Minister Andrej Babis is briefed about the issue of delays in vaccine deliveries to the EU and has expressed his disappointment. The Czech Republic has so far received slightly over 372,000 vaccine doses, and the inoculation campaign is behind the schedule.
The government previously aimed to end the vaccination campaign by late September but now the Health Ministry is reluctant to announce an exact date.
As of now, about 269,000 residents of the Czech Republic have received the first dose of a vaccine, but fewer than 38,000 have been fully vaccinated.