ROME: The Republic of San Marino can finally start its vaccination campaign against the coronavirus after the arrival of the first shots on Tuesday. But the city-state surrounded by Italy had to resort to its Plan B and buy Sputnik V injections from Russia after plans to get EU-approved doses from Italy were delayed.
A pink and yellow truck escorted by police cars brought the first 7,500 Sputnik V vaccines to San Marino and delivered them to the main hospital. Officials said the doses made by Russia would eventually be enough to immunize some 15% of the microstate population of about 33,800.
San Marino bought Sputnik V injections at the last minute after an agreement for Italy to send some of the vaccines it was receiving through the EU vaccine supply system was delayed. San Marino, located near Rimini on the Adriatic coast, is not a member of the EU and, as such, has been excluded from the deals that the bloc of 27 nations has negotiated with pharmaceutical companies.
San Marino Secretary of State Luca Beccari told a press conference last weekend that negotiations with Italy were taking a long time and that under an agreement signed on 11 January, San Marino was to receive one dose for every 1,700 that Italy received. the EU.
But the deal ran into a problem, with Italy and other EU countries facing delivery delays for the three EU-approved vaccines, those from: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca. Italy administered some 3.7 million doses.
Unfortunately, the time needed to define these procedures and the fact that San Marino is a country that has not yet started its vaccination campaign has forced us to look for alternative solutions, Beccari said explaining the purchase of Sputnik.
As with all other countries, it is necessary to start the vaccination campaign as early as possible in order to ensure the safety of its citizens, he said.
The European Medicines Agency said the developers of Sputnik V had recently sought advice on the data to be submitted for the vaccine to be licensed in the European Union. Hungarian health authorities have approved both Sputnik V and the vaccine developed by Chinese state-owned Sinopharm.
San Marino has experienced a proportionately devastating epidemic, with 3,538 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 73 deaths.
Roberto Ciavatta, Secretary of State for Health of San Marino, said Sputnik V was safe and effective.
It’s not that he didn’t pass any checks. On the contrary, as all available research and data show, it is a vaccine that is already administered in 30 countries, around 70 million people have been vaccinated with it. It has extremely high security standards, he said.
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