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Serbia set to begin producing Russian Sputnik V & Chinese Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccines for export across Europe within coming weeks

Serbia’s President has announced that a new coronavirus vaccine factory will launch tens of thousands of vials for vaccination programs across Europe, unveiling an agreement backed by Russia, China and the United Arab Emirates.

President Aleksandr Vucic told reporters on Thursday that domestic production of the puffs would start as early as May. The Sputnik V-Formula manufactured in Moscow is the first to be manufactured.

“It will be a completely new vaccine factory that we will build together with the UAE,” said the Serbian head of state after a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, whose country is assuming the construction costs. China will also be actively involved in the project.

“We will have large quantities of vaccines for ourselves, but also for the entire region,” added Vucic.

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On the same day, Serbian Innovation Minister Nenad Popovic said: “The first phase … would include the transport of (vaccine) ingredients from Russia, packaging and distribution.”

Serbia has confirmed more than 500,000 cases of Covid-19 since the pandemic started last year, with nearly 5,000 deaths attributable to the virus. However, it has been one of the most successful countries in securing shock supplies, including using Sputnik V as part of a nationwide public health initiative.

Although the manufacturers of the Russian vaccine are approved for use in 46 countries around the world, they are awaiting an ongoing review by the European Medicines Agency to see if it can be used by EU member states.

Many have already complained to Brussels about the slow start of the centralized procurement strategy and the slow pace of previous approvals by the central regulator.

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Sputnik V developers have apologized to the head of the European Medicines Agency after calling approval of the vaccine “Russian roulette”.

Earlier this week, developers demanded an apology from the chairman of the health authority, Christa Wirthumer-Hoche, after calling the decisions of Slovakia and Hungary to import the Sputnik V-butt “Russian roulette”. The team behind the formula said the comments “raise serious questions about possible policy interference” in the assessment process.

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