Croatia: Russian citizens queue for coronavirus vaccinations

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The Sputnik V vaccine, which is the only freely available coronavirus vaccine in Russia, has been snubbed in favour of a third booster jab with the Pfizer vaccine by Russians who do not want to quarantine when they travel to the bloc.

World Health Organisation and European Medicines Agency rules, which the EU follows, dictate that those who receive the Sputnik V vaccine must quarantine and take tests for Covid on arrival in any bloc country.

Despite this snub, Russian scientists who developed the vaccine argue two doses affords “91.6 percent” protection against the virus.

One man called Yuri who had travelled from Russia to Croatia told France24 that the Pfizer booster would mean he can travel easily throughout Europe.

He said: “I would like to make a booster dose of vaccination with Pfizer here.

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“To travel to Europe to use direct flights without quarantine, without tests.”

He added how Croatia is “one of the best options” for Russians to get a Pfizer jab as well as the European Union’s digital covid pass.

While speaking to ABC News, Valentino Rajkovic, the coordinator of capital Zagreb’s biggest jabs centre, explained that Russians surging into the Dalmatian coast country see the moves as a no brainer given the ease of the process.

He said: “[Russians] are coming here for their third dose… In two weeks, they get their COVID passports.

Croatia: Russian citizens queue for coronavirus vaccinations

“Just this month we’ve had about 1,000 Russians who received vaccines.”

He claimed how an astonishing “4,908 foreign citizens most of whom are Russians” have filed into his centre alone.

Russian citizens have also flown into Serbia to grab booster jabs.

Croatian media has also reported that demand for Croat Pfizer jabs is so high amongst Russians that additional flights have been organized to fly them in.

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The practice has become known as “vaccine tourism” and is even being conducted by Russian travel agents.

Some travel agency websites even offer holiday packages of accommodation, sightseeing and excursions for Russians to make a holiday out of getting their booster jabs.

One agency told a Russian news agency: “Demand is not just big…

“It’s avalanche-like and growing exponentially.”

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