Germany plans bilateral contract with Russia to buy Sputnik jabs

Berlin, Apr 8 (efe-epa).- Germany is planning to negotiate a bilateral contract with the manufacturer of the Russian Covid-19 vaccine, the German health minister said Thursday, if the European Union’s medicines regulator approves the Sputnik V jab.

In remarks to WDR public radio, Jens Spahn said: “The European Commission said (on Wednesday) that it will not sign contracts (for Sputnik) like for other manufacturers.”

“So I said during the meeting of EU health ministers that Germany will hold bilateral talks with Russia” on a potential purchase.

Spahn also said he was in favor of applying a stricter lockdown across the country, echoing statements made this week by chancellor Angela Merkel and the leader of the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, Armin Laschet.

The German health minister said that deliveries of the Russian vaccine would only be made once the European Medicines Agency has authorized it, adding that Moscow “must provide data” before the EMA can approve it for use in the bloc.

For the Russian vaccine to have an impact on Germany’s vaccination campaign, Spahn said that deliveries of Sputnik V would have to take place “in the next two to four or five months” and that he expects binding commitments from Russia in terms of the quantities of the deliveries.

His remarks come one day after the German state of Bavaria announced that it would sign a pre-agreement to buy 2.5 million doses of the Russian vaccine.

“This is just an option, I insist. It is subject to (EMA) authorization,” said Bavarian prime minister Markus Soeder.

Germany has endured a sluggish start to its Covid-19 vaccine rollout. There have been multiple delayed deliveries from manufacturers, and the EMA said on Wednesday that there is a possible link between rare but potentially fatal blood clots and the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, although it still recommends using the inoculation, saying its overall benefits outweigh the risk.

German authorities have nevertheless suspended administering the Anglo-Swedish jab to people under 60. EFE-EPA

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