Austria said on Tuesday it was negotiating with Russia over the possible purchase of one million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine — which has yet to be approved by EU regulators.
Though EU member Hungary is already administering Sputnik V and a total of 57 countries have authorised its use, according to the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), it is still under review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
The office of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told AFP on Tuesday that the talks had started on February 26 over the delivery of 300,000 doses in April, 500,000 in May and 200,000 in early June 2021.
Kurz added that no agreement had been made, contradicting media reports that an order for the Russian vaccine has already been made.
Specifics of the arrangement are difficult to determine however as the deal is subject to a confidentiality agreement, Austrian media reports.
Earlier this month, Kurz and five other central and eastern EU leaders urged Brussels to find a “correction mechanism” to fix what they called the unfair distribution of coronavirus vaccines within the bloc.
“If Austria receives an additional one million vaccine doses, we will be able to return to normality faster and could save many lives as well as jobs,” Kurz said.
“There should be no geopolitical blinkers when it comes to the vaccine. The only thing that should matter is whether the vaccine is effective and safe, and not where it comes from.”
Austrian Health Minister Rudolf Anschober agreed, saying “One thing is clear: every vaccine used in Austria must be effective and safe”.