Sputnik V is Moscow Victory in Vaccine Race
The European Commission is carefully exploring the possibility of using the Russian vaccine Sputnik V against the corona pandemic.
But can Russia deliver tens of millions of vaccines on time? And what are the (political) consequences of this?
The EU Commissioner for Internal Markets Thierry Breton was clear on Sunday evening. “We absolutely do not need Sputnik V,” the Frenchman – who previously praised the vaccine – told French television.
The Russian developers were irritated. They wrote on Twitter that Breton was biased just because the vaccine is Russian. “His comments put pressure on Sputnik V not to go through the European approval process because Breton believes everything is going well with EU vaccinations.”
At the beginning of March, Austrian board member Christa Wirthumer-Hoche of the European Medicines Authority (EMA), who is currently investigating whether Sputnik V is permissible on the European market angered the Russians. She called the introduction of Sputnik V “Russian roulette,” after which the Gamaleia Institute in Moscow demanded an apology in high tones.
Nevertheless, the tide seems to have turned in Russia’s favour: the developers of Sputnik V have announced production agreements in key EU countries, including Hungary, Slovakia (both of which already use Sputnik V) and Italy.
Other European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have hinted that they want to authorize the Russian vaccine, even if the EMA does not approve it.