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Germany considers producing Russian COVID-19 vaccine in Europe

Christian Fernsby |
German Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Wednesday that there were considerations to produce the Russian COVID-19 vaccine in Europe after Russia had inquired whether there could be production capacities in Germany or Europe.

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"We can also provide support for the production of a vaccine that is not yet or not at all approved in Europe," Spahn said during an online press conference.

Spahn said that he was generally open for using the Russian vaccine in Europe and he welcomed "any vaccine that shows efficacy, that is safe, that can make a difference."

Regulatory authorities would now need to consider how efficient and safe the Russian vaccine Sputnik V is, said Spahn. The process for approval by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) was already initiated.

Chancellor Angela Merkel also considered approval of the Sputnik V vaccine in Europe possible.

"We read good data today also from the Russian vaccine," Merkel told the German public broadcaster ARD on Tuesday.

She said that every COVID-19 vaccine is welcome in the European Union (EU) as the bloc is facing vaccine delivery difficulties.

So far, three COVID-19 vaccines have received EU approval. The vaccine from German pharmaceutical company BioNTech and U.S. company Pfizer was first at the end of December, followed by the approval of the vaccine from U.S. company Moderna and that from AstraZeneca.

Despite the supply bottlenecks for vaccines in Europe, Spahn was confident that the goal of being able to offer every German citizen a vaccination by the end of the summer could still be achieved.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced on Wednesday that more than two million people in Germany received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine since the campaign was launched at the end of December. Almost 680,000 people already received the required second dose.