Sputnik V vaccine financier discusses support for EU leaders
State Minister-President Markus Söder has taken decisive action as criticism of Brussels’ handling of the vaccine rollout continues. On Wednesday, he signed a preliminary contract for the delivery of Sputnik V jabs, which will take effect once the Russian-made shot is approved by the European medicines regulator.
Following a cabinet meeting, Söder said batches of vaccine would arrive for distribution immediately after the green light.
As European health systems threaten to falter under the third wave of Covid, Bavaria has reported an increase in infections.
As a result, the state government decided to delay easing the restrictions for at least two weeks.
He explained: “If Sputnik is approved in Europe, the Free State of Bavaria will receive additional vaccine doses through this company – I think it will be 2.5 million vaccine doses – probably in July to increase the capabilities of supplementary vaccination in Bavaria. “
Mr Söder is the leader of the Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU), the sister party of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) of Angela Merkel.
If the green light is given, the Sputnik vaccines will be produced at a factory in the Bavarian town of Illertissen.
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He was accused of making a “selfish” gesture and some said he shirked his responsibility to show solidarity with all Germans in the midst of the crisis.
The announcement caused a sensation across the country – but also drew criticism.
Dietmar Bartsch, the leader of the left parliamentary group in the Bundestag, said for “Ego[tistical]-Söder ”it was about“ Bayern first!
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He stressed that federal states should not be tempted to race against each other for vaccines.
The signing of the contract comes a week after Merkel was joined by Frenchman Emmanuel Macron on a video call with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the Sputnik jab.
The Kremlin said the trio had discussed the prospects for licensing the vaccine in the EU.
Steffan Seibert, spokeswoman for Merkel, had said earlier that the Russian-made coronavirus vaccine “would deserve to be considered for Germany” if the EMA gave it the green light.
The Chancellor on Thursday supported a short and difficult lockdown in Germany to curb the spread of the coronavirus as an infection rate, a government spokeswoman said.
Germany is struggling to cope with a third wave of the pandemic and several regional leaders have called for a short and abrupt lockdown as the country tries to vaccinate more people.
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“We need a stable incidence of less than 100.”
It was referring to the number of cases over seven days per 100,000 population.
It is currently 110.1, according to the Robert Koch Institute.
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.