The German states of Bavaria, Saxony, and Thuringia will send 15,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from UK-Swedish manufacturer AstraZeneca to the Czech Republic, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has confirmed. Meanwhile, France has promised to send the Czech Republic 100,000 Pfizer/BioNTech doses in the form of a “loan” to be paid back later, the PM added.
Babiš has asked EU countries for help because Czechia is currently one of the countries hit the hardest by the pandemic. The country continues to record more than 12,000 new daily COVID-19 infections as hospitals are stretched to their limits.
While vaccine rollout is slower than expected, the government is desperately asking for help, with Czech requests going beyond EU borders, and the country is expecting the delivery of Russian Sputnik V vaccines.
However, it is still not clear whether the Czech Drug Institute will approve the Russian jab despite the government office having already asked the State Institute for Drug Control for a preliminary assessment of the Russian vaccine, the newsweekly Respekt informed.
The country’s health ministry, however, does not want to approve the Sputnik vaccine unless the European Medical Agency (EMA) assesses it.
The government has also decided to re-launch the Czech vaccine development project that was stopped last year due to the expected availability of already developed vaccines.
(Aneta Zachová | EURACTIV.cz)