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San Marino opts for Sputnik V, demands approval for Russian jab

San Marino’s authorities have chosen Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine to guarantee the enclave’s public health, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, International Economic Cooperation and Telecommunications Luca Beccari told TASS on Monday, noting that such a step was taken after delays in the supply of jabs approved in the EU.

"In San Marino, the health and safety of its citizens come first, especially given the deteriorating epidemiological situation. The decision to use Sputnik V allowed us to quickly set up supplies and launch mass vaccination," according to Beccari, who arrived in Moscow to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and a number of other top cabinet officials.

Beccari emphasized that the already established close ties with Russia led to such a quick decision. He said that no external pressure was exerted on the republic, and now the authorities were sorting out the problem regarding the restriction of movement associated with the use of jab not recognized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). "We settled on Sputnik V due to delays in the supply of EMA-approved vaccines for more than two months, despite pre-signed agreements. And we believe that European institutions are obliged to recognize the freedom of movement of anyone who has antibodies [to the COVID-19] regardless of the type of shot," the secretary of state noted.

Meanwhile, Beccari did not rule out that San Marino’s residents would have to receive a third vaccine (recognized in the EU). "We will inoculate [citizens] with a third jab, but only when international bodies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), indicate the timing and methods, in particular, in case of combined vaccination (with drugs developed on fundamentally different platforms)," the official went on to say. Earlier, the Italian authorities gave the Sammarinese a grace period for COVID-19 certificates, which were issued to those vaccinated with jabs recognized in the EU.

Beccari also mentioned that, according to studies (the results of one of them conducted by Bologna University were published in the reputable scientific journal ‘Lancet’), the Russian vaccine’s efficiency stood at 94%. In San Marino, not only have all residents been immunized, which practically reduced the coronavirus caseload to zero, but so have also foreign tourists. As Beccari stated, more than 1,200 foreigners "from all over the world" have been vaccinated in total. "I would call this a very positive experience," the top diplomat said.

The oldest republic on Mount Titano

Beccari, who earlier served as captain-regent (one of the republic’s two heads elected for six months), believes that San Marino has been able to maintain independence for 1,720 years thanks to the reliability of its institutions of power, the tenacity of its citizens as well as the historical ability to maintain diplomatic and political ties. "Our country is neutral, we do not have our own army, but this does not mean isolation," the top official noted.

He stated that the pandemic had seriously damaged the republic’s economy, which is largely based on tourism. This year’s data indicated a slight recovery thanks in part to international ties built over the years. "Despite all the hardships of the past two years, the economic system has demonstrated sufficient stability and signs of further recovery," Beccari concluded.

[Source: Tass, Rome, 13Sep21]

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