Serbia and Argentina have begun industrial production of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19.
'It is a great honor for me to launch production of the Russian-Serbian vaccine with you today. We are starting to produce 4 million [doses] of Sputnik V vaccine,' Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, during an online ceremony on June 4.
After Belarus, Serbia is the second European country outside of Russia to manufacture the Russian vaccine.
Public broadcaster Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) said the first doses produced at Belgrade's state-run Institute for Virology, Vaccines, and Serums are expected to be delivered to vaccination points in the Balkan country within 10 days.
Putin and Argentinian President Alberto Fernandez watched the launch of the production line in Argentina via video link during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Russia's state-run TASS news agency reported.
The Sputnik V doses produced in Serbia and Argentina will meet the two countries' domestic needs before being exported, according to the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which is responsible for marketing the vaccine abroad.
About one-third of Serbia's approximately 7 million inhabitants have received at least one dose of vaccine against the coronavirus.
Serbians have been inoculated with the Sputnik V vaccine and China's Sinopharm for months, as well as with vaccines from BioNTech/Pfizer and AstraZeneca.
Belgrade has also donated vaccines to Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, North Macedonia, and the Czech Republic.
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Based on reporting by Reuters, TASS, RTS, Tanjug, dpa, and RFE/RL's Balkan Service
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