The delivery of Sputnik V vaccines has already been discussed "several times" between senior Russian and Luxembourg officials. It all depends on the green light from the European Medicines Agency but the Russian ambassador assures that his country has the capacity to deliver.
Luxembourg stepped up its vaccination campaign on Monday. The fifth phase opening vaccination to residents over the age of 55 has started, a fifth vaccination centre has opened its doors on the premises of Luxembourg Airport, and the first doses of the Johnson&Johnson vaccine have arrived on Monday.
While the controversy linked to the risk of thrombosis following the injection of AstraZeneca's vaccine has not diminished Luxembourg's vaccine supplies, the Grand Duchy does currently lack the vaccines to immunise more residents more quickly. In this context, it becomes increasingly likely that the government wants to go ahead with the purchase of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine as soon as possible.
Prime Minister Xavier Bettel recently had a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the possibility of acquiring the Russian vaccine. The ambassador of the Russian Federation to Luxembourg, Dmitri Lobanov, confirmed that officials from both states, including Bettel and Putin, have spoken "several times" about the possibility of delivering Russian vaccines to Luxembourg. "But unfortunately", Lobanov added, negotiations are currently blocked at the level of "this famous European agency, the EMA".
Speaking to RTL, Lobanov assured that as soon as the EMA gives the green light, negotiations will continue. The Russian ambassador is highly confident in a favourable outcome, stating that it is "very feasible" from the Russian side.
Already used by 50 countries
The distribution of the Sputnik V vaccine in Luxembourg has even been the subject of a public petition (n°1827) open for signature since 2 April (120 signatures collected so far). Referring to a scientific study published in The Lancet, its author explains that "the Sputnik V vaccine is 91.6% effective and already used in more than 50 countries worldwide".
On Tuesday, India authorised the use of the Russian vaccine, as an outbreak of infection rages in the country of 1.3 billion people. Since last Thursday, Germany has been discussing possible orders for Sputnik V, without waiting for the green light from the European Union and despite the reservations that the Russian Covid-19 vaccine continues to arouse in Europe. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which financed the development of the product, has announced that it has begun negotiations with Berlin "for an advance purchase contract".
The French state secretary for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, warned earlier this month that it will not be possible for the EU to authorise the use of the Russian vaccine "before the end of June".