Slovak party derails plan to buy Russian vaccine without EU registration

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FILE PHOTO: Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic arrives for an EU summit in Brussels

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Slovakia has dumped a plan to negotiate with Russia to buy the Sputnik V vaccine, after a junior coalition partner vetoed buying a product which has not been registered by the European Medicines Agency, Prime Minister Igor Matovic said on Thursday.

Matovic was a fan of buying the vaccine which he said this week was a great vaccine with great efficiency.

But he told a news conference that his junior coalition partner, the Za Ludi (For the People) party, rejected a resolution that proposed allowing the use the vaccine based on national rather than European authorisation.

TA3 television quoted the party's leader Veronika Remisova as saying it insisted on sticking to rules requiring EMA authorisation, and that Sputnik could be used once it clears that hurdle.

Russia has so far not requested registration of the vaccine by EMA, the agency said last week. It has been registered in nearly 30 countries.

The only EU country that has approved its usage so far is Slovakia's neighbour Hungary. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis had considered doing the same but rowed back after a rejection by experts and his own Health Ministry.

Croatia said on Wednesday it was in discussions with Moscow over the vaccine.

(Reporting by Jan Lopatka; Editing by Alison Williams)