MOSCOW / BELGRADE, Jan.6 (Reuters) – Leading Serbian politicians on Wednesday called for greater international acceptance of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine as they joined the front of their country’s queue for vaccines, a few days after Moscow delivered the first shipment.
The first batch of 2,400 doses of Sputnik V vaccine arrived on December 30, and Russia’s sovereign wealth fund RDIF said it had agreed to provide more up to a total of 2 million.
Serbia began vaccinations with the two-stage drug on Wednesday, including an injection for parliament speaker Ivica Dacic, who urged the World Health Organization to register it.
“You have heard some statements that (international) travel will be permitted for those who Pfizer (NYSE 🙂 shot only, ”he said.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if they (the statements) turn out to be true as some kind of political pressure.”
So far, only the vaccine developed by Pfizer PFE.N and BioNTech – with which Serbia launched a mass vaccination campaign last month – has received emergency WHO approval.
Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin, known for his pro-Moscow stance, was also among the first to be shot by Sputnik. “I wanted to get the Russian vaccine because I believe in Russian medicine,” he told reporters.
Russia has so far signed agreements to supply Sputnik V to Argentina, Mexico, Bolivia, Venezuela, Uzbekistan, Algeria, Egypt, Nepal and the United States. India and has production partners for the drug in several countries.
Serbia, which officials say also plans to get AstraZeneca vaccines, Moderna and Sinopharm in China, has recorded nearly 350,000 cases of COVID-19 with 3,405 deaths.