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Global News Politics

Hungary To Start Vaccinations With Russian COVID-19 Shot

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(Reuters) – Hungary will start vaccinating people suffering no chronic diseases with Russia’s Sputnik COVID-19 vaccine soon, the surgeon general said on Tuesday, becoming the first European Union country to use it.

Cecilia Muller said the first 2,800 doses of Sputnik would be given to those who have registered for inoculations, and that as Hungary was striving for “maximum safety” those who have a chronic disease will not get the shot.

“It… can be used with appropriate caution in case of certain chronic diseases,” she told a briefing.

Hungary’s drug regulator granted the shot emergency use approval rather than waiting for the EU’s European Medicines Agency (EMA) to give it the go-ahead.

Hungary has also granted approval to Chinese company Sinopharm’s vaccine.

The country of around 10 million people is scheduled to receive 600,000 doses of Sputnik and another half a million doses of Sinopharm’s vaccine this month, potentially allowing it to speed up its inoculation programme despite delays in Western vaccine deliveries.

EU countries have so far relied almost entirely on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine but Hungary’s drug regulator approved Sputnik V for use last month.