Czech PM Babis fires health minister over Russian vaccine’s discord

Photo: EPA Jan Blatny (L) and Andrej Babis at a press conference, October, 2020.

For the third time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the Czech Republic is getting a new health minister, dpa reported. The current minister Jan Blatny announced on Wednesday that he had been recalled, and that it had been a "political decision" by PM Andrej Babis.

The decision is likely based on the fact that Blatny and Babis did not see eye-to-eye on the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine. Blatny had wanted to wait for EU authorities to decide on it. He will be replaced by Petr Arenberger, who is in charge of the University Hospital Prague-Vinohrady. Arenberger has said in a newspaper interview that he was open to using the vaccine.

According to the opposition, Blatny is simply being used as a scapegoat for mistakes made by Babis' government. The Czech Republic is due to hold parliamentary elections in six months.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been more than 1.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 27,325 virus-related deaths in the country.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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