Breaking: Croatia could buy Russian vaccine before EU approval: minister

Croatia could purchase Sputnik V, the Russian vaccine against COVID-19, before the European Medicine Agency (EMA) approves it, Croatian Health Minister Vili Beros said Wednesday.

The national Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices can evaluate the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine at the national level and it has already been requested to do so, said Beros.

“It is in the interest of every government to take care of its citizens’ health. It is not illegitimate to search for other sources of vaccine outside the European Union (EU), especially when delivery within the EU is not going well,” Beros said in an interview on the national radio HRT.

He noted that Russia is expecting EMA’s approval possibly in early April, and that there is growing evidence that the Russian vaccine is effective but that more data is needed to prove its safety.

Russian Ambassador to Croatia Matvej Sidorov told the national news agency HINA on Wednesday that Russia is ready to deliver the vaccine in two to three weeks.

“We are ready to push delivery through our diplomatic channels,” he said.

Up to 502 new COVID-19 cases were reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide tally to 238,501, Croatian Institute of Public Health reported on Wednesday.