Austria rejects emergency approval for Russia’s Sputnik vaccine

Sputnik arrives at an airport
PARRA / AFP
Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has confirmed the government has bought one million doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, but will wait for the approval of the European Medicine Agency before allowing it to be administered.

Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has announced he has agreed to buy one million doses of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V.

However, the vaccine will only be used once it has been approved by the European Medicines Association (EMA).

When the announcement was made that negotiations were beginning to import the vaccine, Kurz left the door open to an emergency approval – as has taken place in neighbouring Hungary – to allow the vaccine to be administered immediately. 

READ MORE: When will Russia’s Sputnik V be available in Austria?

However, both new Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein and the Chancellery have confirmed Austria will wait for the EMA to give the go-ahead, broadcaster ORF reports. 

Mückstein said Sputnik V was a “good” vaccine, but added EMA approval as a prerequisite was “important” to him.

He added due to more deliveries of the vaccine from Biontech/Pfizer, the deadline to vaccinate everyone by the summer will be met. 

The Chancellery pointed out that the Russian vaccine was already approved in more than 50 countries, and it was therefore likely the EMA would approve the vaccine soon. 

Earlier in the month there was a dispute between Slovakia and Russia over the Sputnik V vaccine.

Bratislava accused Moscow of delivering shots that were different from those used in a peer-reviewed study by the EMA and medical journal The Lancet,  Reuters reports.

Slovakia had previously ordered two million doses, according to the New York Times.


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