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