After months of discussions about the use of the vaccine, the Slovak government has approved the use of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, leading to the resignation of Prime Minister Igor Matovic. Therefore, Slovakia has become the second EU member state to use Russian vaccines after Hungary, which has not yet been approved by EU regulatory agencies. The government announced that it has instructed the Ministry of Health to provide vaccines by June 7.
Slovakia is a country with a population of 5.5 million. It imported 200,000 doses of artificial satellites in March, but so far, all items have been stored in warehouses awaiting approval. Prime Minister Matovic was forced to resign after receiving the vaccine delivery, and his allies were unaware, forcing the government to reorganize, including the replacement of the Minister of Health.
The Slovak drug regulatory agency SUKL refused to recommend the vaccine in April, saying that there is not enough data. Slovakia then asked Hungary to allow further testing of the goods received by Slovakia. The new Minister of Health stated earlier this month that the doses stored in Slovakia have passed these tests.
Slovak officials emphasized that people will be able to choose whether to accept satellites or other vaccines. So far, the country has used EU-approved vaccines-Pfizer/BioNTech, Hyundai, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. Government data show that so far, 1.6 million people have received the first dose of the vaccine. The government pointed out that the Russian vaccine approval only applies to the country that already has 200,000 doses. Russia has agreed to provide 2 million doses of vaccine. So far, there is no plan to import the remaining vaccines.