Hungary receives 6,000 doses of Russia's COVID-19 vaccine

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BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary has received 6,000 doses of Russia's COVID-19 vaccine, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on his Facebook page on Monday, though it was unclear when or whether the shot would be administered in the country.

Szijjarto said local health experts would continue their assessment of the use of the Russian inoculation in Hungary.

"The shipment will be transported to the National Public Health Centre, where Hungarian experts will have another opportunity to make a decision on how the vaccine should be used," Szijjarto said.

Under European Union rules, Russia's Sputnik V vaccine must be authorised by the European Medicines Agency before it can be marketed in any state of the 27-nation bloc, the EMA has said.

Hungary's plans to conduct trials of and possibly produce the Russian shot, an unprecedented step for an EU member state, have added to existing frictions with Brussels.

Russia and Hungary agreed last month to let Hungarian doctors and medical experts observe the manufacturing process and laboratory tests for Sputnik V.

Hungary started vaccinating healthcare workers against the coronavirus with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, a day earlier than most other countries in the European Union.

Szijjarto said the government would work on bringing viable vaccines to Hungary as fast as possible, from either Western or Eastern vendors.

(Reporting by Gergely Szakacs; Editing by Mark Potter and Jan Harvey)