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World Russia Accuses Slovakia of COVID Vaccine Sabotage, Demands Return of Shots

21:45  08 april  2021
21:45  08 april  2021 Source:   newsweek.com

Slovakia signs deal to acquire 2 million doses of Sputnik V

  Slovakia signs deal to acquire 2 million doses of Sputnik V PRAGUE (AP) — Slovakia signed a deal to acquire 2 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, Prime Minister Igor Matovic said Monday. Matovic said his country will get 1 million shots in the next two months while another million will arrive in May and June. Slovakia is the second European Union country to use the vaccine, which hasn't been approved by the European Medicines Agency, after Hungary. It hasn't been registered byMatovic said his country will get 1 million shots in the next two months while another million will arrive in May and June.

Russia asked Slovakia on Thursday to return its Sputnik V vaccine supply "due to multiple contract violations."

a close up of a person holding a bottle: A nurse holds the first dose of 'Gam-COVID-Vac' also known as Sputnik V vaccine against coronavirus as she prepares to administer it at Isidoro Iriarte Hospital on December 29, 2020, in Quilmes, Argentina. © Marcos Brindicci/Getty Images A nurse holds the first dose of 'Gam-COVID-Vac' also known as Sputnik V vaccine against coronavirus as she prepares to administer it at Isidoro Iriarte Hospital on December 29, 2020, in Quilmes, Argentina.

The vaccine's official Twitter page said Slovakia's drug regulator is "in violation of existing contract and in an act of sabotage" tested Sputnik V "in a laboratory which is not part of the EU's Official Medicines Control Laboratory network."

Sputnik V's Twitter page argued Slovakia's State Institute for Drug Control "has launched a disinformation campaign against Sputnik V and plans additional provocations."

In response, the Slovak institute said the network of European Union certified labs only tests vaccines registered in the EU. Sputnik does not meet that qualification. The institute added that it doesn't know details of the contract because it was classified.

Russia's announcement was posted hours after the Slovak regulator said it hadn't received 80 percent of the requested data on the Russian vaccine in order to assess it's benefits and risks.

Slovakia also claimed that the vaccine it received was different from the Sputnik V vaccine. According to a study published in The Lancet, the Sputnik V vaccine is 91 percent effective at preventing severe illness caused by COVID-19.

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  Russia's coronavirus vaccine is alluring for Eastern Europe, creating a headache for the EU As the EU continues to struggle with the lethargic rollout of coronavirus vaccines across the 27 member bloc, Russia's Covid shot is proving alluring to some.The Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia have all expressed interest in procuring and deploying Russia's "Sputnik V" vaccine, a move that could undermine an EU-wide approach to approving and administering coronavirus vaccines.

Russia called the claim "fake news."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

"All Sputnik V batches are of the same quality and undergo rigorous quality control at the Gamaleya Institute," it said. "The quality of Sputnik V has been confirmed by regulators in 59 countries."

Sputnik V has not yet been approved for use in the EU, but the body's regulator, the European Medicines Agency, started a rolling review of the vaccine last month. The Slovak drug agency said the Sputnik V vaccine being reviewed by the EU is also different from the one sent to Slovakia.

But the Slovaks said those vaccines seem to "have only the name in common."

Slovakia's coalition government collapsed last month after Prime Minister Igor Matovic orchestrated a secret deal to buy 2 million Sputnik V vaccines despite disagreements from his coalition partners. Matovic welcomed the first 200,000 Russian vaccines at an airport on March 1.

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Matovic, who now serves as the finance minister and deputy prime minister in the new government that was sworn in last week, was in Moscow on Thursday to discuss further vaccine deliveries. The Russians said Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund that bankrolled the vaccine and markets it abroad, had "a productive meeting" with Matovic.

But the fund demanded the Slovaks send the Sputnik V to an EU certified lab for testing and asked them to return the vaccines they have received so they "can be used in other countries."

"Congratulations, idiots," Matovic said in a message on Facebook to opponents of the Sputnik deal. He said he was not ready to give it up and was planning to announce his further steps on Friday.

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