The premier of Germany's Saxony region has revealed that the country wants to buy 30 million doses of the Russian-made Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, assuming that the EU's European Medicines Agency approves the jab.
Following a meeting with Russian Minister of Health Mikhail Murashko, Michael Kretschmer tweeted on Thursday that Germany is negotiating to receive three batches of 10 million doses in June, July and August. Kretschmer, a member of the ruling Christian Democratic Union, is currently in Moscow.
Gespräch mit Gesundheitsminister Michail Muraschko über #SputnikV. Wir werben sehr für ein zügiges Zulassungsverfahren bis Mai. Deutschland verhandelt über 3×10 Mio Dosen für Juni, Juli, August. Voraussetzung dafür ist die zügige EMA Zulassung des Impfstoffs.@MINZDRAV_RFpic.twitter.com/zUp0VhGZ3k
— Michael Kretschmer (@MPKretschmer) April 22, 2021
According to the Kremlin's website, Kretschmer also had a phone call with President Vladimir Putin in which they discussed not only Covid-19 and Sputnik V, but also the “intra-Ukrainian crisis” and “the situation around Alexey Navalny.”
Germany has long expressed interest in Russia's vaccine. In March, Berlin-based outlet Politico Europe reported that the government had asked the European Commission to begin negotiating with Moscow, despite the jab not yet receiving regulatory approval. Later, German Health Minister Jens Spahn sparked controversy when he confirmed that the country would have bilateral discussions with Russia over the jab, bypassing the system of EU joint purchasing.
As well as a federal push to import Sputnik V, the heads of the German regions of Bavaria and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern have also expressed a desire to strike an independent agreement with Russia. Furthermore, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) agreed to a production deal with local authorities to organize joint production at a plant in the Bavarian town of Illertissen.
So far, the Western-made jabs from BioNTech/Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson have been certified in the EU, but Sputnik V has been kept waiting.
Last Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it would begin a new round of reviewing the Russian vaccine on May 10, along with the EMA. However, despite a lack of WHO approval, it has been registered in more than 60 countries worldwide.
On Monday, the RDIF revealed that Sputnik V has shown 97.6% efficacy in the real world, according to data analysis from 3.8 million vaccinated people.
“This data confirms that Sputnik V demonstrates one of the best protection rates against coronavirus among all vaccines,” RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev said. “The 60 countries that have approved the use of Sputnik V have made the right choice by choosing one of the most effective tools for the prevention of coronavirus.”
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