The Czech Republic could receive Russian Sputnik V jabs “as soon as possible”, President Miloš Zeman told CNN Prima News, confirming that after consulting with Prime Minister Andrej Babiš he had asked Russian President Vladimir Putin for the COVID-19 vaccines to be delivered.
“If I am correctly informed, this request will be met, but of course, we will need certification,” said Zeman, adding that if he were to decide, the State Institute for Drug Control (SÚKL) certification would suffice.
While Babiš had been opposed to the Sputnik V vaccine skipping the European Medical Agency (EMA) process for approval – which it has not yet applied for – it appears he has now changed his mind.
“We cannot wait for the EMA because Russia did not apply [for approval],” Babiš told CNN Prima News, adding that six EU countries now want the Russian jab.
According to Zeman, the Czech State Institute for Drug Control “should not be lazy” and “issue the certification [for Sputnik V] as Hungary did.”
While the president and PM are open to the Russian vaccine despite it not having been approved by the EMA, Health Minister Jan Blatný confirmed he will not authorize the Russian vaccine unless the EMA does so too.
The Czech Republic is currently vaccinating with Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccines, but it does not have enough doses to vaccinate all those interested.
Last week, Zeman spoke in favor of the so-called Hungarian path, referring to Hungary purchasing the Sputnik vaccine, even without the approval of the European authorities.