Matt Atlas

Russia Demands Slovakia Return Its Sputnik V Vaccines

According to the state Russian direct investment fund (RDIF), Slovakia has violated the contract for the supply of this vaccine against covid-19.

The fund, therefore, asked the Slovak government to return the shipment of this vaccine, Reuters reported. According to the TASS agency, RDIF stated that the Slovak State Institute for Drug Control (SÚKL) violated the contract by ordering the delivered consignment Sputnik in a laboratory that is not part of the network of official laboratories of the European Union, although this network is available. SÚKL called the RDIF statement misleading, as EU laboratories control the quality of vaccines registered in the European bloc, which Sputnik V is not. Despite this, SÚKL tried to contact the EU laboratories but without success.

The Russian fund said on Twitter that it had also requested that the batch be sent to a specially certified laboratory for further inspections. SÚKL previously stated that the vaccine it received differed from the batches reviewed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and The Lancet. According to Reuters, RDIF claims that all batches are the same.

SÚKL stated that although it requested the cooperation of the official EU laboratory and the accredited laboratory of the Biomedical Center of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV), the EU laboratories did not comply with the requests concerning the utilization of their capacities. According to SÚKL, the mentioned Slovak laboratory, where the Sputnik V tests took place, has a valid certificate regarding the quality control of medicines. SÚKL also claimed that no one had warned him that the SAS testing would violate a secret contract with the Russian manufacturer Sputnik V.

Bratislava has not yet decided whether Sputnik V will vaccinate residents. Due to the lack of information, SÚKL did not issue its assessment of the Russian vaccine’s benefits and risks. Due to its delivery, the Slovak Minister of Finance Igor Matovič visited Moscow today, who enforced its purchase from the prime minister’s position despite the opposition of part of the coalition. Matovic will comment on the results of the trip to Moscow at Friday’s press conference. However, the Slovak former prime minister has written through several social media contributions since Wednesday, for example, about exemplary and systematic efforts to prevent Sputnik V from being used in Slovakia and the launch of a dirty geopolitical game against Russia’s “hybrid weapon.” At the beginning of March, Sputnik V was named the tool of hybrid warfare by Ivan Korčok, Slovak diplomacy.

In the morning, SÚKL warned in another statement that the Russian vaccine’s batches supplied to the market were probably not identical. “According to published reports, Sputnik V should be used in about 40 countries worldwide, but these vaccines are only associated with the name. The comparability and consistency of different batches produced at various sites have not been demonstrated and stated by SÚKL. According to SÚKL, the mentioned other properties of individual doses of Sputnik V relate, for example, to the composition and method of vaccine production.

SÚKL also stated that Slovakia received a Russian vaccine that is not the same as the substance that should be assessed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The Slovak authority added that it did not receive about 80 percent of the Russian vaccine manufacturer’s required data in connection with Sputnik V.

Former Prime Minister Matovič wrote on the social network that someone wants to prevent Sputnik V’s use in Slovakia. The circumstances of the import of the first consignment of the Russian vaccine to Slovakia in March deepened the government crisis in the country, which resulted in the exchange of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health.