Austria today announced negotiations with Russia to soon receive one million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine against covid-19, currently being evaluated by the European regulator.
“The objective of the negotiations that started on February 26 is the purchase” of doses that will allow “to vaccinate 500,000 people starting in April,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s office told France-Presse.
Delivery of “300,000 doses in April, 500,000 in May and 200,000 in early June” was spoken, he said.
According to the same source, “a confidentiality agreement has already been signed for the sharing of confidential documents”.
“If Austria receives another million doses of vaccines, we can return to normality faster, save numerous lives and jobs,” said Kurz, quoted in a government statement.
Westerners accuse Moscow of using its vaccine as an instrument of geopolitical influence, accusations rejected by Russia.
In view of the slow rate of vaccination in the European Union, Vienna began, like Slovakia and the Czech Republic, to negotiate directly the delivery of alternative lots, in addition to those ordered by the European Commission.
“There should be no geopolitical splints. The only thing that should matter is whether the vaccine is effective and safe ”, insisted Kurz, on the fact that Sputnik has not yet been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
Hungary is currently the only EU member to administer that vaccine, authorized in 57 countries under the Russian RDIF sovereign wealth fund.
But Moscow has so far only exported small quantities of the vaccine, because it is not able to produce enough and its priority is the Russian population.
Sales have been widely publicized and Russia seeks to diversify its sources of production, multiplying agreements with foreign companies.
In addition to the possibility of deliveries, Sebastian Kurz discussed at the end of February with the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, an eventual “joint production”.
A pandemic covid-19, transmitted by a new coronavirus detected in late 2019 in China, caused at least 2.7 million deaths worldwide, resulting from more than 127 million cases of infection, according to a report by the agency France Presse.