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19 May, 2021 14:41

EU agrees to open up to foreign tourists fully vaccinated against Covid-19, but NOT to those who've had Russia’s Sputnik V jab

EU agrees to open up to foreign tourists fully vaccinated against Covid-19, but NOT to those who've had Russia’s Sputnik V jab

The European Union’s agreed plan to re-open its borders to foreigners who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will exclude those inoculated with Sputnik V, with the bloc leaving the Russian jab off its approved list.

On Wednesday, ambassadors representing the EU’s 27 member states reached a consensus that people from outside the union may enter its territory if they have received a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or the World Health Organization (WHO). This means that the Western Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines, as well as the Chinese Sinopharm jab, will all be accepted.

Despite beginning a rolling review two months ago, the EMA is yet to register Sputnik V. The decision not to accept the jab could inconvenience Russians who were looking to travel abroad in the summer.

Sputnik V was registered in Russia last year, and thus far has been approved in 66 countries. Two of those nations, Hungary and Slovakia, are actually in the EU, and many other member states have expressed a willingness to buy large batches of doses, including Germany and Austria.

However, individual nations within the EU still have the opportunity to make their own rules. Last week, Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis revealed that the country would allow entry to tourists who have received the Russian jab, and that they would face no requirement to quarantine. Bulgaria has already opened its borders to Russians vaccinated with Sputnik V.

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According to the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which bankrolled its development, Sputnik V has an efficacy rate of 97.6%, based on the analysis of data on the coronavirus infection rate among those in Russia vaccinated with both components. In February, a study published in the British medical journal The Lancet found the jab to have more than 91.6% efficacy.

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