Hungary imported the first doses of Russian Sputnik V vaccine on Thursday, as part of a plan that could lead to massive imports and vaccine production in Hungary if it proves to be safe and effective. “Hungarian experts will have the opportunity to study the vaccine in the next period and make a well-informed decision on the potential use and approval,” said Peter Szijjarto, Hungarian Foreign Minister.
But the European Commission has warned the Budapest government about using an unauthorized vaccine in the EU. “The question is whether an EU member state would like to give citizens a vaccine that has not been reviewed by the European Medicines Agency,” a European Commission spokesman said.
According to European regulations, the Sputnik V vaccine must be authorized by the European Medicines Agency before it can be produced or used in any EU Member State.
“This is where the authorization procedure and trust in the vaccine meet. If our citizens begin to question the safety of a vaccine, if it does not go through rigorous scientific assessments to prove its safety and efficacy, it will be much harder to vaccinate a sufficient proportion of the population. “, said the representative of the European Commission.
Russia has announced that the results of intermediate tests show that the Sputnik V vaccine is 92% effective in protecting people from infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The European Medicines Agency has announced that it has no data from Russia or Hungary on the Sputnik V vaccine.
The number of cases of infection with the new coronavirus in Russia exceeded 2 million on Thursday, amid a wave of new infections and deaths in recent months.
Russia currently ranks fifth in the list of countries with the most COVID-19 cases, with a total of 2,015,608 cases, according to a federal monitoring service that provides daily statistics.
The service on Thursday reported a record increase in the daily number of deaths, 463, and new cases, over 23,000.
In total, Russia has recorded about 35,000 deaths directly associated with the new coronavirus. The number of deaths does not include people who contracted the virus but died of other causes.
President Vladimir Putin has rejected the possibility of imposing new lockdown measures, after such steps devastated Russia’s economy earlier this year.
Putin described the coronavirus’s situation as “complicated but controllable” this week at a meeting with senior officials, according to a transcript provided by the Kremlin.
Russian federal authorities have ordered the wearing of masks and gloves in all crowded public areas and have advised the elderly and others at high risk of illness not to leave their homes unless absolutely necessary.