Chancellor Angela Merkel said today “All vaccines are welcome” as she praised Russia’s Sputnik V jab.
“Every vaccine is welcome in the European Union,” said Merkel in an interview with the German ARD. “Today we also read good data for the Russian vaccine”.
Merkel told ARD that she recently spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin about the vaccine, which was 91.6 percent effective in the trial results.
A batch of Sputnik V arrived in Hungary today. This makes it the first country to accept the once controversial shock.
When Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto announced the arrival of the vaccine, he suggested the failure of Brussels’ attempt to centralize vaccine procurement for member states.
“Centralized vaccine procurement in Brussels has failed,” said Szijjarto, adding: “We were the first in the EU to receive the Sputnik sting, but probably not the last.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel said in an interview with the state broadcaster ARD that she had spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin about the Sputnik-V vaccine, which studies have shown to be more than 91 percent effective
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto (pictured right with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on January 22 in Moscow) announced the arrival of the first batch of Russian Sputnik-V vaccinations on Tuesday and said that centralized vaccine procurement in Brussels had failed.
The news coincided with the publication of a study by independent experts that found the Moscow vaccine to be more than 90 percent effective.
His comments come as the President of the European Commission, Ursela Von der Leyen, faces increasing pressure on the EU’s vaccination program.
Hungary separated from the EU last month and was the first block member to approve and appoint Sputnik V.
“The first delivery will arrive today based on the contract signed in Moscow,” said Szijjarto in a video on his Facebook page.
The first 40,000 doses landed with two million to be dispensed over three months, enough to vaccinate a million people, he said.
“The doses were immediately brought to the National Public Health Center so that the remaining necessary tests can be carried out before Hungarians can receive them according to the planned vaccination,” the minister said.
Hungary split from the EU last month when it was the first bloc member to approve and order Sputnik V. The country has argued with the EU on many occasions, particularly over migration, and repeatedly criticized the slow approval and procurement of vaccines by EU authorities. Pictured: The Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Brussels in July 2020
Hungary has often argued with Brussels, particularly over migration, and has repeatedly criticized the EU authorities for slow approval and procurement of vaccines.
Last Friday, Budapest also approved the Chinese-made Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine – again the first in the EU to do so – and said it had ordered five million doses.
Hungary has also approved Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines.
As of February 1, Hungary had recorded 368,710 cases of Covid-19 and 12,578 deaths, and given just 3.23 people per 100 at least one vaccine doe.
For comparison, the UK has given 14.42 people per 100 at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, the third highest rate in the world after Israel (57.65) and the United Arab Emirates (34.79).
As of February 1, Hungary had registered 368,710 cases of Covid-19 and 12,578 deaths and had given just one vaccine to just 3.23 people per 100. Image: Diagrams with the daily coronavirus cases (above) and deaths (below)) since the beginning of the pandemic
Russia registered Sputnik V – named after the Soviet-era satellite – in August, months ahead of its Western competitors, but before the start of extensive clinical trials that made some experts suspicious.
However, according to results published Tuesday in The Lancet Journal, the vaccine is 91.6 percent effective against Covid-19. The experts said the transparency concerns related to the sting have been resolved.
Only 16 out of 16,500 people given the two-dose burst developed symptoms, while none died from the disease or required hospital treatment.
In a huge boost to Russia’s vaccination ambitions, it was found that the vaccine was 74 percent effective in blocking Covid after a single dose.
For comparison, the Oxford University vaccine blocks symptomatic Covid by about 70 percent after two doses, while the effectiveness of Pfizer and Moderna against impacts is about 95 percent.
However, direct comparison of the results of studies in different countries is difficult because the methods and standards of the studies are different.
The Russian sting is what is known as an adenovirus vaccine that uses a weakened virus that causes the modified common cold so as not to cause disease.
Sputnik V, named for the former Soviet space satellites, has been the subject of controversy since Vladimir Putin green-lit his permit for mass deployment in Russia last August before any human testing
Researchers have already used this technology to make vaccines against a range of pathogens, including the flu, Zika, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers).
British scientists responded to the results, published in the prestigious journal The Lancet, saying the UK should “be more cautious about being overly critical of other countries’ vaccine designs”.
Sputnik V has been the subject of controversy since Vladimir Putin green-lit his permit for mass use in Russia last August before scrutinizing any human trials. But the jab hasn’t been introduced nationwide yet.
Russia’s controversial coronavirus vaccine is 92 percent effective in blocking symptomatic illnesses after symptomatic illness
The UK government, which has spent £ 2 billion on pre-orders for 407 million vaccines from seven different developers, has so far made it clear that it has no plans to buy supplies from Russia.
But that hasn’t stopped more than 50 countries, including parts of South America, India, South Korea, Belarus, and Hungary, from placing orders.
At around £ 7 a dose, Sputnik is one of the cheapest Covid vaccines out there – for example, Pfizer’s push costs around £ 15 per shot, while a dose of Moderna costs £ 25. Oxford is still the cheapest at £ 3 a dose.
The EU and many of its 27 members have been criticized for their slow rollout. So far, fewer than 10 million people have received a dose in the entire block.
Ursela Von der Leyen’s European Commission has invested € 2.7 billion to receive 2.3 billion doses from companies making potential vaccines, mostly in European factories.
So far, three vaccines have been approved for use in the 27 EU member states: one from the German company BioNTech with the US giant Pfizer; one from the US company Moderna; and most recently one from the Anglo-Swedish group AstraZeneca.
All three companies fall short of January-March first-quarter delivery schedules and panic EU officials.
While excessive bureaucracy in countries like France and Germany has been a reason for the slow start, the EU is also struggling to get enough supplies.
Last week, Brussels accused pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca of violating its contract with the EU on suspicion that the company had supplied the UK with stocks intended to go to countries in the bloc.
The UK used emergency procedures to get the AstraZeneca vaccine developed with Oxford University approved, and signed a contract three months earlier than the EU using a slower approval process.
But Chancellor Angela Merkel defended the problematic vaccination campaign of the European Union on Monday and said there were “good reasons” why the rollout started more slowly than in some other countries.
In the picture: Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks after a vaccination summit attended by key players. She renewed the promise to offer every German citizen a vaccine by the end of September
After a vaccination summit attended by important actors, Merkel once again promised to offer every German citizen a vaccine by the end of September.
For her part, Chancellor Angela Merkel has offered Putin the option of “joint production”.
Merkel had called the online talks in response to the growing anger in the 27-strong bloc over the slow introduction of Covid-19 bumps, which was fraught with delivery delays and political pressure on the EU heads of state and government.
“It’s true that in some areas the pace slowed, but there were good reasons why it slowed,” Merkel told reporters in Berlin.
Merkel, the leader of Europe’s largest economy, admitted that the United States, Israel and Britain are pushing their vaccinations forward.
However, she said the EU had deliberately avoided rushed emergency permits, as it has done in the UK, in order to increase public confidence in the bumps.
The EU has also negotiated “very long” at times to ensure that pharmaceutical companies have adequate liability, she said.
And the bloc chose not to sacrifice privacy, Merkel added, alluding to Israel’s agreement with Pfizer / BioNTech to offer data on its can vaccination campaign.
The German media have been annoyed by the EU’s problematic vaccine campaign, and the best-selling daily Bild newspaper calls it a “catastrophe”.