San Marino, an independent micro-state in northern Italy, announced Wednesday (12 May) it would offer the Russian Sputnik Covid-19 vaccine to tourists for €50.

The fee covers both doses of the vaccine, Health Minister Roberto Ciavatta told a press conference.

The jab will be made available to anyone who books a hotel for at least three nights and returns within three or four weeks for the second injection.

The scheme, valid from 17 May, will give San Marino “a real possibility to attract a kind of tourism that none of us would have ever before thought possible to attract,” Foreign Minister Luca Beccari said.

The Russian vaccine has not been authorised by European Union authorities, but San Marino is not a member of the bloc and has been dispensing it since early March.

The tiny hilltop republic has around 34,000 citizens and since starting the vaccination campaign has administered 36,000 doses and fully vaccinated some 22,000 people.

In a statement Monday, health authorities said San Marino had reported no new infections in the previous 24 hours.

Beccari said Wednesday that the republic was close to being “Covid free”.