Merkel is open to the manufacturing of Russia’s Sputnik within the EU
Test studies of the Covid-19 vaccine candidate Sputnik V are being carried out in Russia.
Sefa Karacan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
According to a spokeswoman for her office, Chancellor Angela Merkel is “open” to the idea of producing Russia’s coronavirus vaccine in the European Union.
Germany has so far carried out the highest number of vaccinations among the 27 European nations since the rollout began at the end of December. However, there are large discrepancies within the bloc, where, for example, the Netherlands only started vaccination on Wednesday.
The EU has been criticized for slow adoption of Covid-19 vaccines compared to other parts of the world, with the US, China and Israel leading the way in the number of doses given.
Merkel spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday about the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. During the phone call, she said she was “open to the idea of bilateral cooperation to develop European production capacities (for the Russian vaccine),” said Ulrike Demmer, deputy spokeswoman for the German government, on Wednesday, according to Politico.
A Brussels-based federal government spokesman confirmed the same statement to CNBC.
Germany has made it clear that this would only happen if the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the Sputnik V vaccine.
European regulators approved the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine last month and the Moderna vaccine on Wednesday. However, the EMA has not yet received a formal application to evaluate the Russian Covid vaccine for EU-wide administration.
Russian Gamaleya Institute, the developers of the Sputnik-V vaccine, said Tuesday that more than 1 million people received the sting, the Financial Times reported.
Vaccines for everyone
Earlier this week, Germany announced a further tightening of social restrictions, with schools closing until January 31.
Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn said on Thursday that there would be a vaccine for “everyone” this year. “In the year 2021 50 million vaccine doses from Moderna and 90 million from BioNTech will be secured. That alone is enough to offer a vaccination to practically everyone”, Spahn told the German television broadcaster ZDF.
Germany has around 83 million inhabitants.
On Wednesday, Spahn spoke to reporters that “if all goes well” a new Pfizer BioNTech factory will be built in February to increase the number of vaccines available in Europe. BioNTech is a biotechnology company based in Mainz, a city on the Rhine in western central Germany.