EU allows countries to independently purchase Russian vaccines

The EU member states should not conduct parallel negotiations for the supply of vaccines against COVID with manufacturers who have centralized purchase contracts on behalf of the European Commission, but they have every right to independently purchase vaccines from other manufacturers, EC spokesman Eric Mamer said at a briefing in Brussels.

Earlier, the Secretary of State at the French Foreign Ministry, Clement Bon, speaking of the intention of a number of European countries to individually purchase doses of the Russian or Chinese vaccine against COVID-19, called for solidarity at the European level.

“Two aspects should be separated: we have identified a portfolio of vaccines that we purchase together. EU countries should not negotiate in parallel with manufacturers of vaccines from a pan-European portfolio. But they have the full right from a legal point of view to purchase vaccines from other suppliers”, – said Mamer, commenting the French politician calls for solidarity on the vaccine issue.

“Regarding the vaccine approval procedure, it is known to be carried out by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), but there is also a national emergency procedure that allows vaccines to be purchased without the approval of the European Commission and EMA recommendation. Therefore, an EU member state has the right to purchase vaccines subject to these conditions”, – added the representative of the European Commission.

Mamer added that “the EC’s position is that a pan-European strategy has been approved in order to guarantee access to vaccines for all EU states in order to vaccinate all EU citizens. We continue to believe that this is a good framework for a vaccination strategy”.

On Thursday, the European regulator EMA announced the start of a rolling review procedure for the Russian vaccine. The agency expects that the evaluation of the drug will take place in a shorter timeframe, but the date of approval of the drug cannot yet be named.

Hungary and Slovakia have already approved the use of “Sputnik V” on an individual basis, without waiting for the pan-European registration of the drug from the EMA. Sputnik V is one of the world’s top three coronavirus vaccines in terms of the number of approvals received by government regulators. It was registered by 42 countries, the total population of which exceeds 1.1 billion people.

On Monday, Polish President Andrzej Duda discussed by phone with Chinese President Xi Jinping the possibility of purchasing a Chinese vaccine against coronavirus.

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