Budapest | The Hungarian government announced Friday that it had reached an agreement to purchase “large quantities” of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V, although it has not yet been authorized by European health authorities.
Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, visiting Moscow, made the announcement in a video posted to his Facebook account. “Details will be given later,” he said.
The announcement comes as the Hungarian regulator gave the green light to the use of the vaccine this week, amid criticism from Budapest of the “slowness” of the vaccine approval process by the European Medicines Agency ( EMA).
Only two vaccines are currently authorized in the EU: Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. The opinion on that of AstraZeneca, already used in the United Kingdom, is due before the end of the month.
Sovereignist Prime Minister Viktor Orban reiterated his impatience on Friday, the day after a summit of the Twenty-Seven by video conference on the subject.
“We will have to face the fact that something is wrong at EU level,” he lambasted during his traditional weekly radio interview.
“If there is no Union vaccine, let’s take it elsewhere. It is not possible that the Hungarians die because of that ”, added the leader, customary of the standoff with Brussels.
Russian authorities have applied for EU registration of Sputnik V, which Moscow says is more than 90% effective, but the EMA has not yet started the review process.
While it drew criticism when it was approved in August 2020, it has since been administered to more than 1.5 million people, according to Russia, which has made it an instrument of geopolitical influence.
“Hungary is the first EU country to realize the benefits of Sputnik V,” Kirill Dmitriev, director of the Russian Sovereign Fund (RDIF), who funded the development of the vaccine, welcomed in a statement Thursday. .
Hungary has also ordered one million doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine and is awaiting the green light from Hungarian inspectors, who are currently in Beijing.