BERLIN (AP) – Germany’s Health Minister said on Thursday that the European Union was not planning to order Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, but that his country would hold talks with Russia to see if an individual order had sense.
The EU Executive Commission said on Wednesday it would not place orders for Sputnik V on behalf of member countries, as it has done with other manufacturers, Health Minister Jens Spahn told the WDR public radio.
Spahn said he told fellow EU health ministers that Germany, which has strongly supported the EU’s joint orders, “will speak bilaterally to Russia, first of all to find out when this might happen. and in what quantities ”. He said that “to really make a difference in our current situation, deliveries should already take place in the next two to four or five months.”
Otherwise, he said, Germany would already have “more than enough vaccines.”
Amid a slow start to the vaccine rollout in Germany and across the EU, some German politicians – particularly at the state level – have been called upon to order Sputnik V. Spahn said he wanted to put end the “abstract debate” by getting concrete details of what is possible.
Elsewhere in the EU, Hungary in February became the first country in the bloc to start using Sputnik V and China’s Sinopharm vaccine, none of which have been approved by the European medicines regulator.
The Slovak government collapsed after its former prime minister orchestrated a secret deal to buy 2 million doses of Sputnik V, despite disagreements with his coalition partners.
And Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said his country was on the verge of concluding talks to possibly obtain doses of Sputnik V. He left open the question of whether Austria could allow its use before the EU did. approves it.
In Germany itself, two state governments are continuing their tentative plans to obtain doses of the Russian vaccine.
On Wednesday, the governor of Bavaria said his administration was signing a preliminary contract with a company in southern Germany that would allow it to obtain 2.5 million doses of Sputnik V, possibly in July, if the shooting is authorized by the European Medicines Agency.
Northeastern Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania State Health Minister Harry Glawe said on Thursday his state had been granted an option for one million doses. He argued that “we are currently still in a phase where there is a great dependence on too few manufacturers,” the dpa news agency reported.
Spahn underlined the German government’s position that in order to be deployed in the country Sputnik V must be authorized for use by the EMA and “for this Russia must provide data”. The EU regulator began a continuous review of the vaccine in early March.
Meanwhile, a senior EU official said he was skeptical of rushing Russian or Chinese vaccine orders.
Thierry Breton, a member of the EU executive who heads the Commission’s working group on vaccines, said in a blog post that he had “no reason to doubt the efficacy, safety and the potential quality of vaccines developed outside the EU ”, but it is for the EMA to assess.
“Whenever I have been asked to comment on these vaccines, I have done so from an industry perspective: can they complement Europe’s vaccine portfolio and complement our immunity target for the summer 2021? ” Breton wrote.
“I’m afraid the answer is no.”
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