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Germany in talks to secure doses of Russia's Sputnik vaccine

Germany in talks to secure doses of Russia's Sputnik vaccine

Germany in talks to secure doses of Russia's Sputnik vaccine

Bavaria’s state premier Markus Söder announced this week that his state had signed a provisional agreement to buy Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, once it has been approved by European regulators. Germany has now launched talks with Russia about purchasing doses at a federal level. 

Bavaria commits to Sputnik vaccine

The federal state of Bavaria has “signed a memorandum of understanding” to procure doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, announced the state’s premier, Markus Söder on Wednesday. Söder is the first German head of state to sign up for the Russian vaccine.

Last month, the German government said that they would consider using the Sputnik V vaccine in the fight against coronavirus in Germany, should the European Medicines Agency (EMA) declare it safe for use. Bavaria now stands to receive 2,5 million doses of the vaccine through a company situated in the Bavarian town of Illertissen in the next few months, providing it is greenlit by the regulatory body.

Chancellor Angela Merkel previously suggested that the Russian jab could be rolled out across Germany, saying that the country “should use any vaccine that has been approved.” The Chancellor’s spokesperson, Steffen Seibert, said that approval “would provide the opportunity to use the vaccine in inoculation campaigns in Europe, and it would then also be worth considering for Germany.”

Germany to conclude agreement

The EU commission recently declared that it would not enter into a preliminary contract for the Sputnik V vaccine. However, following this decision, Germany’s health minister, Jens Spahn, announced that the federal republic would break with the EU and negotiate a bilateral agreement to secure doses of the vaccine.

Spahn stressed that Germany continues to rely on European approval for vaccines and will wait on the EMA’s decision. This has led other German states to follow Bavaria’s example and consider concluding their own agreements for the Sputnik vaccine. The head of Thuringia, Mario Voigt, has indicated his state might pursue such an agreement. 

However, this is not a view that is shared across Germany’s 16 federal states. Stephan Weil, state premier of Lower Saxony, replied, “No. We are sticking to the agreed procedure,” when asked if his state would follow in Bavaria’s footsteps. Speaking about Söder, Weil said, “The fact that the colleague who, with pithy words, always demands consistently uniform behaviour in combating pandemics, speaks for itself."

Russian vaccine under review

The EMA has already launched a rolling review into Sputnik V, making it one step closer to being the first “non-western” coronavirus vaccine to be used across the EU. Russia’s vaccine has been in use since August, following fast-tracked clinical trials and reviews of the vaccine have been largely positive, with The Lancet medical journal publishing a study showing that it is safe and over 90 percent effective.

Still, the vaccine is not without criticism. France’s foreign minister has accused Russia and China of using their jabs to gain influence over other countries.

William Nehra

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William Nehra

William studied a masters in Classics at the University of Amsterdam. He is a big fan of Ancient History and football, particularly his beloved Watford FC.

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