The authorization of the Sputnik V vaccine for protection against the coronavirus in the European Union must be accelerated, Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder said. Speaking to the Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag, the president of the junior German coalition party the Christian Social Union (CSU) stressed that the vaccination engine should not be allowed to “stall”.
To this end, in particular, the EU authorization procedure for Sputnik V at the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the European community’s top pharmaceutical authority, needs to be sped up.
“Time should not be wasted for purely ideological reasons,” Söder told Bild am Sonntag.
According to the newspaper, the German federal government expects that the EMA can take a decision on Sputnik V in September at the earliest because the agency has not yet received all the data needed for the procedure from the developers. Bild am Sonntag also writes that the Bavarian regional government had entered into an option contract for the purchase of 2.5 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine. The condition for the purchase is that the Russian side obtains an EMA permit.
In Germany, AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and J&J vaccines are currently being used to achieve herd immunity against Covid-19.
Of the European Union member states, only Hungary, which has not waited for the approval of the EMA, uses the Sputnik V, which is also the reason why – with the exception of Malta – the vaccination rate is much higher in Hungary than in other EU partner countries.
Slovakia also signed a contract in March to buy 2 million doses of Sputnik V, of which 200,000 doses have been delivered so far, but the vaccine will only be deployed in the coming days. Austria has decided to buy 1 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine, however, Vienna is also awaiting EMA approval before vaccination with the Russian vaccine begins.
Title image: Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder attends a press conference in the Chancellor’s Office following consultations between the federal and state governments in Berlin Tuesday, March 23, 2021. Germany extended its lockdown measures by another month and imposed several new restrictions, including largely shutting down public life over Easter, in an effort to drive down the rate of coronavirus infections. (Michael Kappeler/Pool Photo via AP)