The head of eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt, Reiner Haseloff, has called on Berlin to consider using Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine to accelerate the domestic vaccination campaign, adding he would gladly take the jab himself.
“We should do everything possible to accelerate vaccination in Germany,” Haseloff, who is a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, told the German Funke media group.
The incumbent head of the Bundesrat – a federal legislative body representing the German states – then urged the government to consider Russia’s pioneering Sputnik V vaccine as a remedy to the nation’s vaccine shortage.
Germany started national vaccine rollout in late 2020, alongside the EU-wide vaccination effort, but the campaign has since been plagued by vaccine shortages blamed on “logistical problems” and insufficient pre-ordered dose quantities.
German Social Democrats (SDU), apparently annoyed by the campaign’s sluggishness, even suggested creating a special commissions of inquiry within the Bundestag and the EU parliament to investigate the actions of Berlin and the European Commission that was responsible for vaccine purchases for all the EU nations.
The shortage of the vaccine doses was also at some point blamed at the manufacturers – the American Pfizer and the British-Swedish AstraZeneca. Both companies blamed production issues at European manufacturing plants for a temporary drop in their projected deliveries.
Merkel herself earlier said that “every vaccine is welcome in the EU, but only after it has been approved by EMA”, referring to the European Medical Agency. Yet, the EU watchdog appears to be in no rush to approve the Russian jab, as it recently indicated it could not find Russia’s application form for Sputnik V.
The statement prompted the Russian RDIF sovereign wealth fund, which financed the vaccine’s development, to point out it actually filed one in late January.
Meanwhile, Haseloff said that in Saxony-Anhalt, which was once a part of East Germany, one would hardly have any problems with the Russian vaccine.
“I would take a Sputnik V jab at any time,” the official said, adding that he was once successfully immunized with the Soviet polio vaccine as a child.
A Phase III clinical study on 19,866 volunteers, published in the prestigious medical journal Lancet last month, found that Sputnik V had an even higher efficacy of 91.8 percent among the 2,144 subjects aged over 60 – and was also 100 percent effective against severe coronavirus cases.
The vaccine was also approved for emergency use in more than 30 countries and territories.
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