Sputnik V in demand in the Visegrád countries?
First Hungary purchased the Russian vaccine Sputnik V and now Slovakia has followed suit, acquiring two million doses even though it has yet to be approved by the EU. In the Czech Republic, President Miloš Zeman has been promoting the Russian vaccine for a some time now. Commentators in both countries are less than enthusiastic.
A dubious remedy for dreadful management
Sputnik V will cause many problems for Slovakia, Sme fears:
“It's sad that Prime Minister Igor Matovič is joining Viktor Orbán, who is cynically politicising the pandemic. Sputnik is supposed to solve the tragic situation that arose due to the dreadful management of the pandemic. Matovič is hoping that Sputnik will be his salvation. The coming days will produce more questions than answers. Who is to be innoculated with a vaccine that is not approved in Europe? Will it be possible to reject the Sputnik jab? Will those vaccinated with Sputnik get a European vaccination card? Matovič has acknowledged that he had to buy the doses in secret so that no one would stop him. How tragically characteristic of the situation in which Slovakia finds itself.”
Harmful fake news coming right from the top
By consistently promoting Sputnik V, Czech President Miloš Zeman is discrediting the entire vaccination campaign, Seznam Zprávy fumes:
“Zeman is casting himself as an expert. Do we really need pharmaceutical approval for Sputnik? Isn't it enough that the head of state vouches for it? ... The president is damaging people's confidence in the whole vaccination campaign. His comment that Astrazeneca's vaccine was far worse than Sputnik sounds like sabotage. Two of Zeman's worst tendencies are combined here: turning unproven or even fake news into facts. And advancing Russia's interests. His comments were immediately picked up by the official Russian media.”