While some European countries are advancing this track to speed up their vaccination campaign, France says that the Russian vaccine against the coronavirus, Sputnik V, will not be able to be authorized within the EU “before the end of June”, warned the French Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, this Thursday.
“There is a first stage of examination (of the validation file) which is called a scientific review which, we are told, will no doubt last until at least mid-June”, declared Clément Beaune in front of the Senate European Affairs Committee.
A Russian propaganda weapon?
“And then there is a final step which is the opinion of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on the marketing authorization, which still takes a few weeks. So it is not a vaccine that is likely to be authorized before the end of June, ”he added. At that time, the EU should have “a lot more vaccine doses available (from other laboratories) so the need will be much less pressing”, he noted in passing.
Clément Beaune also pointed to the limited production capacities of the Russian vaccine and criticized Moscow, after other French and European officials, for using Sputnik as a propaganda weapon on the international scene. “There are geopolitical acts or publicity stunts which are used by our Russian friends to show to what extent they are present in the European Union”, he noted. “Let us not be naive, (they have) a strategy of division in the EU which for the moment has not worked, so much the better, beyond a few blows of a penknife,” he said.
“Let us not have any illusions in mind about Russian or Chinese vaccines”
Among the 27 EU member states, only Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have so far decided to use the Russian vaccine without waiting for its validation by the European Medicines Authority. In Slovakia, this decision led to the resignation on Tuesday of Prime Minister Igor Matovic, criticized even within his government.
Others like Germany say they are ready to use the Sputnik V vaccine to fight the pandemic, provided it is approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). “We do not exclude any solution, no track, but let us not have any illusions in mind about Russian or Chinese vaccines”, insisted Clément Beaune.