The hard-hit Czech Republic has requested delivery of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine in response to the late arrival of EU-procured bumps and will also consider Chinese vaccinations, the president said on Sunday.

The EU member is the world leader in new infections per 100,000 people in the last 14 days and, according to an AFP balance sheet, is second only to neighboring Slovakia in terms of deaths.

The introduction of vaccination is slower than expected, as only 650,000 shocks have been administered in the country of 10.7 million people since December, which Czech politicians attribute to slow procurement by the EU.

“After consulting with the Prime Minister, I sent a letter to (the Russian President) Vladimir Putin asking for the Sputnik vaccine to be delivered,” President Milos Zeman said on Prima TV.

“Information from the Russian embassy suggests it could arrive in the next few days,” said the pro-Russian, pro-Chinese leader.

He said he would not mind if the country used the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine because “vaccines have no ideology”.

In contrast to the vaccines currently used in the Czech Republic, Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca / Oxford, neither Sputnik V nor Sinopharm have been approved by the EU regulatory authority EMA.

But Zeman and Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said they wouldn’t wait for the EMA to give the green light.

“We only need a stamp from the (Czech) state drug control office,” said Babis, who visited Hungary and Serbia earlier this month to learn more about the two vaccines.

“65 countries in the world want the Russian vaccine, including six EU countries. So why say, ‘Jesus, it’s terrible’?” said Babis.

“Believe me when I say EU member states will be asking about Sputnik in a few months’ time,” added the billionaire populist who – like Zeman – has already received both bursts of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine.

Hungary is the first to start using Chinese vaccines in the EU: PM

© 2021 AFP

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