Hungary is taking action to secure doses of vaccines manufactured in the UK and Russia despite lack of green light from the European medicines regulator.
Hungary’s medicines regulator has given initial approval for the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Russian coronavirus vaccines Sputnik V, Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Viktor Orban said, confirming media reports.
Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto was traveling to Moscow for talks on the Sputnik V vaccine later Thursday, Gergely Gulyas said in a briefing Thursday.
If it concludes a shipping deal with Russia, Hungary would be the first member of the European Union to receive the Sputnik V vaccine, highlighting Budapest’s rush to lift coronavirus lockdown measures to boost the economy , although the EU’s medicines regulator has yet to go green. turn on the Russian vaccine.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has also not approved the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom but a decision is expected on January 29.
Gulyas said the Hungarian government will review the current lockdown restrictions next week, but the restrictions are unlikely to be lifted until massive inoculations are carried out and the infection rate drops.
Gulyas said Russia’s supply problems with its vaccine appear to have been resolved and he hoped that a “larger quantity” of the Sputnik V vaccine could be delivered to Hungary soon.
Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which markets the Russian COVID-19 vaccine abroad, said on Thursday that Hungary had become the first EU country to “realize all the benefits of the Sputnik V vaccine. and to authorize its use ”.
“This decision is very important because it demonstrates that the safety and efficacy of the vaccine of over 90% is highly appreciated by our partners in Hungary,” he said. adding that Russia would soon start supplying Hungary with Sputnik V.
Scientists have expressed concerns about the speed at which Moscow has launched its vaccine, giving the regulatory green light for the vaccine at home and launching mass vaccinations before full trials are completed to test its safety and effectiveness.
Moscow has said Sputnik V is 92% effective in protecting people from COVID-19, based on interim results, but has yet to release the full data set for the trials.
Russia filed for EU approval for the Sputnik V vaccine on Wednesday ahead of an EMA review next month.