EU Turns to Russia for Covid Jabs Over Supply Shortages.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel today praised Russia’s Sputnik V jab saying ‘all vaccines are welcome. Every vaccine is welcome in the European Union,’ Merkel said in an interview with German broadcaster ARD. ‘Today we have read good data for the Russian vaccine too,’ she added.
Merkel also told ARD she had recently spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin about the vaccine, which has been found to 91.6 per cent effective in trial results.
A batch of the Sputnik V vaccine was delivered to Hungary today, making it the first country to adopt the once-controversial jab. As he announced the vaccine’s arrival, Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto slammed the failure of Brussels’ attempt to centralise vaccine procurement for member states.
‘Brussels’ centralised vaccine procurement has failed,’ Szijjarto said, adding, ‘We were the first in the EU,’ to get the Sputnik jab, ‘but probably not the last.’
Serbia has turned to China’s Sinopharm, becoming the first European country to use the company’s shots and its neighbours are set to follow Belgrade’s lead. “The world has hit an iceberg, like the Titanic, and the rich and the richest only save themselves and their loved ones,” Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said last week, justifying his decision to purchase Chinese and Russian jabs while also negotiating contracts for EU-approved ones.
“We’re drowning together with the Titanic. It may not be their intention, but it is not particularly important to them.” Although the EU has provided €70m to the six Balkan aspiring members to purchase vaccines, procurement problems in Europe mean that four of them have yet to receive any shots months after inoculation began in other countries. Frustrated, some are now looking east to Russia and China to secure scarce supplies.
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