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31st Mar 2021

EU leaders warm to Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron spoke Russian president Vladimir Putin over access to the vaccine last night

Nadine Batchelor-Hunt

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron spoke to Russian president Vladimir Putin last night about access to Sputnik V

The vaccine is already being used in some countries inside the EU such as Hungary and the Czech Republic, who have been using the vaccine since February this year.

Yesterday it also emerged that the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz also contacted Vladimir Putin in February of this year regarding access to the vaccines.

The EU is currently in the grip of a devastating second wave, with deaths in Italy topping 100,000 in the last month and the majority of France going back into lockdown.

Last week Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said: “On the Russian vaccine, I have been of the opinion for some time that we should use any vaccine that has been approved by the European medicines regulator.”

However, the Sputnik V has not yet been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

This comes after fierce rows between the EU and AstraZeneca over vaccine shortages and vaccine safety – whose jab has been suspended in various countries across the bloc over fears of blood clots, despite the fact that no evidence points to this.

The fraught relationship between the company and the bloc took off when AstraZeneca failed to deliver their full orders of their vaccine due to manufacturing issues, leading to threats of vaccine export bans to the UK – which has a higher vaccination rate.

Countries like France and Germany cast doubt on the vaccines efficacy in over 65s, with Macron describing it as “quasi-ineffective”; the French president has since changed his tune, urging all over 55s in France to get the jab.