Merkel and Macron discuss Sputnik V with Putin

The leaders of Germany, France and Russia held a conference call on Tuesday to discuss the potential registration of the Russian Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, news wires reported. The Kremlin said after the call that the three leaders had talked about shipment and joint-production of the Russian-developed jab, pending authorisation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

The EMA began a fast-track rolling review of the Sputnik V vaccine in early March. Experts from the EMA are scheduled to visit Russia in April to scrutinise the results of clinical trials and production processes. But it is not yet clear if or when the EMA will grant authorisation to Sputnik V. More than 50 countries worldwide are waiting for the Russian jab meaning that Russian production of the vaccine would not be able to meet European demand, should it get authorisation.

The EU is in need of more vaccination doses to boost its faltering vaccination drive. Merkel has previously expressed willingness to accept the Russian vaccine if it gets the go-ahead from the EMA. European production of the vaccine is already planned to begin in Italy in July. The Russian pharmaceutical firm R-Pharm is also planning to produce the jab in the Bavarian town Illertissen from the summer. 

"This evaluation is taking place according to the same norms that apply to all other vaccines," Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert told the German news agency dpa.

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