Serbia starts producing Russia's Sputnik V jab

Belgrade, Serbia: Serbia is starting to produce Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, President Aleksandar Vucic said on Friday, the first European nation outside Russia and Belarus to take the step.

Vucic said he and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin would watch via video link as the first vials are filled in Belgrade.

"In a few days you will have Serbian jabs that we will be able to offer to our citizens but also... around the world," he told journalists.

A similar project is planned with China's Sinopharm vaccine, Vucic added.

Four million Sputnik V jabs should be turned out over the next four to six months, officials have said.

The Russian jab has now been registered for use in more than 65 countries but has yet to be approved by the EU or US health authorities.

Russian officials said Friday a European review of Sputnik V was going "according to plan" and the jab may be approved in the coming months.

Serbia bought millions of vaccine doses from Russia, China, and Western firms and made a lightning start to its inoculation program, even offering jabs to foreigners at one stage.

Almost one-third of its population has now received two doses.

But since March, officials have struggled to get people into clinics, offering jabs in shopping centers and even giving cash and vouchers to those willing to be inoculated.

Serbia registered more than 710,000 infections and nearly 7,000 deaths from Covid-19.

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