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European Union and Ireland prepares to test vaccines alternately

DUBLIN: The European Union and Ireland are preparing to test vaccines alternately to prevent COVID-19. Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine has been added to the list of already tested Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca. It remains to be seen how many more vaccines will be tested here.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who visited the site for talks, gave the vaccine a good certificate. He described the vaccine as ‘good news for mankind’. He said he hoped the European Medicines Agency (EMA) would approve the vaccine for use in EU member states.

With this, it is almost certain that Sputnik V vaccine will soon reach European countries as well. The vaccine, funded by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), applied for registration in the European Union in January. Meanwhile, Hungary signed an agreement with Sputnik on its own. Germany and Spain have said they are ready to distribute the vaccine.

Mr. Borrell arrived in Moscow for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. This is the first visit of a senior EU envoy to Russia since 2017. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said Washington and Moscow had agreed to look into the possibility of working together on vaccines. He added that many European countries have expressed interest in developing the vaccine in their territory.

Controversial vaccine arrives

Prior to the large-scale clinical trial last August, Russia’s approval for the use of Sputnik V was controversial. There was widespread concern over its speedy procedures. Despite widespread criticism, Russia began vaccinating its citizens in December. Vaccine developers also came up with the explanation that jab is more than 90% effective.

Earlier this week, the Lancet medical journal published the results of Sputnik’s third phase trials with data from more than 20,000 volunteers. With that, the safety and effectiveness of this vaccine was confirmed. Developers say Sputnik has been approved by more than 15 countries, including the former Soviet Union, Argentina, Iran and Pakistan. They claim to have given jabs to more than two million people around the world.

Hungary flew before the European Union

Hungary has confirmed that vaccination with Sputnik V will begin next week. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said that Hungary will be the first European country to use this vaccine. 600,000 doses of Sputnik and another half a million doses of China’s Sinopharm vaccine will be available this month.

So far, EU countries have almost completely relied on Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. But Hungary’s drug regulator approved Sputnik V last month. According to an agreement signed last month, Russia will provide Hungary with 2 million doses of the vaccine over the next three months. It’s a vaccine for one million people. Hungary, with a population of 10 million, received 40,000 doses last week.

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