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24 Aug, 2021 14:22

In EU first, Hungary reveals plans to start producing Sputnik V Covid vaccine in 2022 as talks with Russia move to advanced stage

In EU first, Hungary reveals plans to start producing Sputnik V Covid vaccine in 2022 as talks with Russia move to advanced stage

Hungary intends to begin its own domestic manufacturing of Russia’s pioneering Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine next year, the country’s foreign minister Peter Szijjarto has said after meeting his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.

Talks about the licensed production of Sputnik V in Hungary are at an advanced stage, he told reporters during a joint press conference in Budapest on Tuesday.

Szijjarto, who himself was vaccinated with Sputnik V, said Hungary intends to start making the Russian-developed vaccine by the end of 2022 in a factory in Debrecen, which is currently under construction. He thanked Lavrov for helping the country acquire the formula for its national immunization campaign.

“Without your personal input, we wouldn’t have been able to conduct the most successful vaccination campaign in the EU,” Szijjarto said, as quoted by Russian media.

Szijjarto also said he is planning to visit Saint Petersburg to hammer out a new 15-year deal on natural gas supply from Russia this year. He clarified that the talks on the issue are at the final stage as well.

Lavrov previously told the Magyar Nemzet newspaper that Russia is studying ways of producing the vaccine in Hungary.

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Hungary has been widely using Sputnik V, although the jab has not yet been approved by the EU’s regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Officials in Budapest criticized the pace of the vaccine’s rollout by the EU and insisted that the issue of immunization should not be politicized.

In January, the Hungarians signed a deal to buy enough of the Russian-made vaccine to immunize one million people.

Overall, more than 5.5 million of Hungary’s population of 9.7 million has been fully vaccinated, according to the government.

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