Bavaria has negotiated a “preliminary contract” to receive 2.5 million doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against Covid-19 soon, subject to its approval by the European regulator.
A “preliminary contract” with a view to soon receiving doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against Covid-19 was signed by Bavaria on April 7, according to German regional leader Markus Söder. The elected conservative, who belongs to Angela Merkel’s camp, added that “if Sputnik is approved in Europe, then the state of Bavaria will receive additional doses of vaccine”, numbering 2.5 million, by June.
According to Markus Söder, the talks were held with a regional pharmaceutical company located in the town of Illertissen. R-Pharm Germany, a subsidiary of Russian drug-manufacturing giant R-Pharm, has a production line in this town and is in a position to manufacture the Russian vaccine, according to several German media.
Markus Söder, a possible candidate to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel, had already pleaded in March for the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which has started the examination of Sputnik V, to “speed up” its approval process . The Bavarian leader had cited studies published on this vaccine showing that it is safe.
Bavaria, the largest German Land, is the first regional state to announce such an order while the vaccination campaign is slipping in the country, due to the logistical organization but also to the number of doses available.
The German government has so far said it wants to wait for the EMA to make a decision before entering into purchasing discussions, but Berlin has emerged as one of the main supporters of this vaccine in Europe. Faced with the slowness of vaccination within the European Union, Austria has also announced, like Slovakia, directly negotiating the delivery of the Russian vaccine, in addition to those ordered by the European Commission. Hungary is currently the only EU member to administer this vaccine.
Other Western countries accuse Moscow of using its vaccine as a tool for geopolitical influence, accusations Russia rejects.