‘Macron is behind!’ French President humiliated as Hungary’s Orban takes lead on vaccines

Vaccine: Macron ‘is trying to reduce demand’ says Bell

The French President said on Tuesday all French people who are willing to be vaccinated against COVID-19 will be offered a vaccine by the end of summer. In an interview with TF1 television, Mr Macron also said because the virus is evolving quickly, pharmaceutical companies need to start preparing now for vaccines that will be needed this winter and early next year.

Asked about Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, Mr Macron said that a few weeks ago he had sent a scientific mission to Russia and the exchanges were positive, and there had been reports indicating the shot was effective against COVID-19.

He added: “But in order to approve a vaccine, a request to market it must first be made.

“The minute a request is made, European and national authorities will study this independently and, depending on the results, approve it or not. It is not a political decision but a scientific decision.”

President Macron’s comments were promptly criticised by National Rally MEP Nicolas Bay who took to Twitter to blast the French leader.

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He wrote: “While Hungary was criticised for its choice to use the Russian vaccine, now other European countries are beginning to take an interest because of the failure of the EU vaccine policy.

“Orban is one step ahead and Macron is one step behind.”

The Russian vaccine is trying to enter the European Union market with some unexpected support from Germany.

The bloc is lagging behind in vaccination compared to the US, Israel and the UK because it does not have enough doses to speed up the campaign.

So far, only three vaccines against Covid-19 have been authorised by the European Medicines Agency: Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

But the latter has experienced significant delays in delivery and the EU says it is “distancing itself” from the laboratory.

And suddenly, it’s the Russians knocking on the door, with their Sputnik V vaccine and a German-backed license application.

On the German side, there is pragmatism: there are not enough vaccines on the market, so any additional arrival of doses is good, “if it is proven that the vaccine is safe and effective,” wanted to clarify the German Minister of Health on Sunday.

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If the European Medicines Agency gives the green light, then, according to Germany, there would be no reason to ignore the Russian or even Chinese contract proposals.

If Sputnik V is validated, “we can discuss joint production and use,” Angela Merkel even said on January 22.

It goes even further: Berlin is currently assisting Moscow in its approval procedures for the Russian vaccine. Above all, administrative assistance to help build the file.

German experts at the Paul Erlich Institute, the equivalent of the French drug safety agency, decipher European standards for the manufacture and distribution of vaccines for the Russians and guide them through the various regulations.

There are 100 million doses of the vaccine, available in the spring, which would be distributed among the countries of the European Union.

The Sputnik vaccine is one of the cheapest and does not need to be stored at very low temperatures.

Based on clinical trials, it is 90 percent effective.

The Russian jab has so far been approved in Argentina, Belarus, Serbia and several other countries.

The Sputnik V and European Medical Agency (EMA) teams held a scientific review of the vaccine on Tuesday, the Sputnik V account said, adding the EMA will take a decision on the authorisation of the vaccine based on the reviews.

While vaccines from Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc have started rolling out in several countries, experts have said multiple vaccines will be necessary to control the pandemic that has killed over two million people globally.

Mexico, which is seeing a reduction in deliveries of COVID-19 vaccine doses from Pfizer Inc, has said it aimed to make up for the shortfall with doses from other providers.

Russia would submit a formal application to the European Union this month for approval of its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, RDIF chief Kirill Dmitriev said in an interview at the Reuters Next conference last week.

Emergency use approval of the vaccine was recently delayed in Brazil, after the country’s health regulator said documents supporting the application did not meet its minimum criteria.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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