In Brief

San Marino is first European country to offer ‘vaccine vacation’

Tiny landlocked nation to give Russian Sputnik vaccine to paying tourists

San Marino will on Monday become the first country in Europe to offer paying tourists access to coronavirus vaccinations in a so-called “vaccine vacation” scheme.

“With no coronavirus patients currently in hospital” and further deliveries of vaccines in the pipeline, the tiny nation decided it “was capable of launching a campaign inviting tourists to get vaccinated with Sputnik V”, Reuters reports.

Two doses of the Russian-developed jab will cost tourists €15 (£12.90) and plans are in place for the country “to generate vaccination certificates for residents and tourists”, the news agency adds.

Booking a vaccine vacation will come “under the condition that people pay for a three-night stay in San Marino after each of the shots, which are administered at a 21-day interval”, Politico’s Brussels Playbook says.

San Marino’s decision to order doses of the Russian vaccine put it at odds with Italy, which completely surrounds the microstate. It “initially appealed to Italy” for vaccines, but “after not getting anything for weeks, it turned to plan B – Russia – in February”, the site adds.

The tiny landlocked nation is not a member of the EU, which has not yet granted approval to Sputnik V. It is, however, under review by the bloc’s regulator, the European Medicines Agency.

Like the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, Sputnik V is based on a version of a common cold virus that “is tailored to carry genetic instructions for making the coronavirus spike protein”, The Guardian says. Based on the numbers of confirmed Covid cases from 21 days after the first dose, the Sputnik vaccine is 91.6% effective, according to a study published in The Lancet.

In a statement the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), the sovereign wealth fund responsible for marketing the vaccine abroad, said it was ready to provide additional batches of Sputnik V to San Marino to support the vaccine scheme.

“RDIF is ready to provide additional supplies of the vaccine to arrange vaccination tourism,” its chief executive, Kirill Dmitriev, was cited as saying.

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