MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Slovakia's President Zuzana Caputova and top diplomat Ivan Korcok have expressed dissatisfaction with the prime minister's decision to use the Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V in absence of the EU regulator's approval.
On Monday, the first batch of Sputnik V vaccines arrived in Slovakia’s eastern city of Kosice. Prime Minister Igor Matovic explained that the country decided to buy the vaccine without the EU’s green light, as "we have no time to waste, there are not enough vaccines in the country, every day dozens of our compatriots die from COVID-19."
"The use of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine [in Slovakia] is not an act of courage or proof of diplomatic success. This is rather a rejection of established medical rules, which guarantee the highest safety standards for people," Caputova said after a meeting with drug agency chief Zuzana Batova.
The president noted that she would respect the decision of people choosing to receive the Russian vaccine, but would not call for mass inoculations with Sputnik V, whose safety has yet to be confirmed by the EU’s regulator.
The solution, according to Caputova, is very simple, i.e. to ask the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for an emergency use authorization for Sputnik V.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, foreign minister Korcok echoed the criticism, calling the Russian vaccine "a tool of hybrid warfare."
"The fact that the Russian Sputnik V vaccine has not yet been offered for registration with the EMA confirms that this is not a vaccine, but a tool of hybrid warfare," Korcok claimed.
According to the minister, the Russian vaccine is not a gift, but a commodity that has its own price.
"It is divides us here, at home, and in the European Union and calls into question EU procedures," the diplomat argued.
The foreign minister noted that he has questions about both the way Sputnik V had been purchased and the noisy and "inadequate" ceremony involving the prime minister to mark its arrival at the Kosice airport.
Korcok lambasted that Matovic had not consulted him about the purchase, holding negotiations with Russia on his own.