Friday, February 26, 2021
Interest in Sputnik V
Chancellor Kurz asks Putin about vaccine
Austria takes a neutral position among the western EU countries on the subject of Russia. According to the Kremlin, this makes it easier for Chancellor Kurz to call President Putin about the Russian vaccine. Specifically, it was about the joint production and delivery to Vienna.
Austria’s Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz found out about the Sputnik V corona vaccine from Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. In a phone call between the two politicians, the Kremlin announced that it was “in detail” about fighting the pandemic, the possible supply of Sputnik V to Austria and its joint production. According to the information, the phone call was initiated by the government in Vienna.
Russia approved its corona vaccine in the summer of last year – even before the clinical trials were finished. With a view to the effectiveness of the vaccine, this initially sparked skepticism internationally. A study recently published in the renowned specialist journal “The Lancet” came to the conclusion that Sputnik V is safe and more than 90 percent effective.
According to the Ministry of Health, more than 580,000 people are currently vaccinated at least once in Austria. More than 220,000 of them have already received the second vaccination.
Recently, several EU countries, including Germany, had expressed an interest in buying the Russian corona vaccine if it were to be approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). In the EU member state Hungary, the use of the preparation has already been approved by the national authorities. In Brussels, however, there are fears that Russia could use its vaccine as an instrument of power if it were approved across the EU.
Austria is following a Russia-friendly course within the EU. In 2018, the country emphasized its neutrality after several EU states expelled Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning of the Russian-British ex-double agent Sergei Skripal. In the same year, the then Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl caused irritation because she invited Putin to her wedding and danced with him.
According to the Russian state fund involved in the financing of Sputnik V, the vaccine is already approved in more than 35 countries. The government in Moscow is currently negotiating a joint production of Sputnik V with several countries. In addition to Russia itself, the product is already being manufactured in Brazil, India, Kazakhstan and South Korea.