In an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung recently, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said that Berlin would import COVID-19 vaccine from Russia and China to compensate for the vaccine shortage under the joint vaccination program of Europe.
|Germany is still hesitant to buy vaccines from Russia. Photo: Vaccine Sputnik V / RT|
“Any country that produces vaccines, if they are safe and effective, can help us deal with the pandemic,” said Minister Jens Spahn.
Mr. Spahn’s comments came after the Russian side, especially Russia’s permanent representative in the EU Vladimir Chizhov, announced that Moscow not only sells Sputnik V vaccine but is willing to share with the world how the vaccine is produced.
Mr. Chizhov said that Moscow will provide all interested countries with a vaccine trial before moving to the production of vaccines in that country.
“First of all, we need to vaccinate our population. However, we are ready to share not only ready-made vaccines but also very important vaccine production technology, “- Mr. Chizhov told RIA Novosti.
Sputnik V formula produced by Moscow has been registered by several countries such as Argentina, UAE and Hungary.
Last week, the official Twitter account of vaccine developer Sputnik V revealed that Russia’s Direct Investment Fund, the sponsor of the vaccine, will be able to supply the EU with 100 million doses during the second quarter of 2021. Before that, of course, this Russian vaccine needs to be approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
Not only German Health Minister Jens Spahn expressed interest in the Russian vaccine amid a shortage of vaccines for the European joint program. German officials have previously mentioned that they will be licensing the Sputnik V vaccine, which they have repeatedly criticized about the lack of transparency in the trial.
In a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed a series of international issues of mutual concern. Notably, the two leaders discussed the possibility of COVID-19 vaccine co-production.
“Issues of cooperation in combating the global pandemic COVID-19 have been discussed, with a focus on prospects for vaccine co-production,” the statement said.
The notice added that the two sides had reached an agreement to “continue the contact on this issue” between the two countries’ specialized and health agencies.
Then, last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel also continued to say that the German Drug Administration in the EU will support Russian vaccines licensed in the EU.
The German chancellor said she believes in cooperation with the Russian authorities despite differing political views.
“I spoke to the Russian President. We know that Russia has the Sputnik V vaccine and I said that, if possible, it would be humanitarian cooperation during a pandemic, despite the strong political differences “- Chancellor Merkel said.
So far, only Hungary has accepted Russian and Chinese vaccines within the EU. Hungary was the first country in the EU to approve Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. Mr. Matyás Szentiványi, General Director of the National Institute of Pharmaceutical and Nutrition Hungary confirmed that the vaccine Sputnik V has been licensed for use in the territory of Hungary.
The approval decision is valid for 6 months and can then be renewed.
Hungary earlier faced a candid confrontation with the EU when it accepted to participate in the Russian vaccine trial despite the Union’s refusal to include the Sputnik V vaccine in the European joint vaccination program. Russian and Chinese vaccines were excluded from the EU’s common strategy, but now things are different.
In an interview with Budapest-based Radio Kossuth in January 2021, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban praised the Russian vaccine and said he was “not satisfied with the speed” of EU plans to access to COVID-19 vaccine.