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COVID vaccine: Italy to be first EU country to make Russian Sputnik V jab

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FILE - In this March 1, 2021, file photo, Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine arrives at Kosice Airport, Slovakia.
FILE - In this March 1, 2021, file photo, Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine arrives at Kosice Airport, Slovakia.   -   Copyright  Frantisek Ivan/TASR Slovakia
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Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 will be produced in Italy from July, the Italian-Russian Chamber of Commerce said Tuesday.

Italy will thus become the first EU country to make the Russian vaccine, which is still under review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

"The vaccine will be produced from July 2021 at the factories of the Italian-Swiss pharmaceutical company Adienne in Lombardy in Caponago near Monza," Stefano Maggi, a press advisor at the Chamber, told AFP news agency.

"Ten million doses will be produced between July 1 and January 1, 2022," Maggi said, stressing that this is the "first agreement at European level for the production of the Sputnik vaccine on EU territory."

Sputnik V has not yet received approval from the EU regulator, which started its review last week.

Russian authorities say they are ready to provide vaccines to 50 million Europeans starting from June.

Several EU countries, including Hungary and Slovakia, have begun administering the Russian vaccine without awaiting the approval of the EMA.

One EMA official criticised the move as "playing Russian roulette," while Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund slammed the EU for its slow approval procedure.

Sputnik has now been approved in 46 countries, despite being initially met with scepticism in the West.

According to The Lancet, a medical publication, the vaccine is 91.6% efficient against symptomatic forms of the disease.