San Marino: Locals enjoy “breath of fresh air” as businesses reopen amid Sputnik V vaccination drive

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San Marino’s residents were seen enjoying drinks and food on Friday as the country’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine has provided residents with hope, relief, and opportunities for business to reopen.

The Sputnik V vaccine is currently under a rolling review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the EU’s medicine regulator, meaning that it cannot be deployed in member states until it is approved.

San Marino is an independent sovereign state that is not a formal member of the EU. The enclave turned to Russia to negotiate a vaccine deal following failure in securing a delivery from Italy through a European Union programme earlier this year.

The country has received 37,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine so far.

“The reopenings give us a breath of fresh air to get us going again for the season almost back to the stage of normality,” said a local bartender as customers filled the once-empty seats.

“Without Sputnik, San Marino would probably not have had these reopening times and it certainly facilitated them, also because the Pfizer [vaccine] was not coming through the agreements with Europe. Thanks to the Russian vaccine, we were able to move up the timetable,” he added.

According to the latest figures from April 13 compiled by Our World in Data, 30.75 percent of San Marino’s population have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine (10,437 doses administered). San Marino’s authorities are reportedly aiming to vaccinate the entire population of the microstate by the end of May.

As of April 14, San Marino had reported 5,010 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, with 86 related deaths.
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