Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said that he was open to allowing Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine or a vaccine developed by China to be produced in Austria, if they are certified for use in the EU.
“If Russian and Chinese vaccine manufacturers obtained a green light from Europe and were produced there, Austria would most certainly try to make production capacity available in the appropriate national enterprises” for these vaccines, Kurz said in an interview with Welt am Sonntag.
“Exactly as for manufacturers from other countries,” he added. “It is about getting the safest vaccine as quickly as possible, regardless of who manufactures it.”
Kurz also said he could volunteer to receive the Russian vaccine, if it would be authorised in Europe. “Vaccines are all about their effectiveness, safety and availability, not geopolitical struggles,” he said.
His remarks come at a time when relations between the European Union and Russia have been strained, especially after the presumed poisoning and imprisonment of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said she was open to allowing Sputnik V to be used in the EU.
The vaccine has been mired in controversy, but prestigious medical journal The Lancet recently published positive scientific findings on its effectiveness.
Merkel also opened the door for a vaccine from China, stressing that a country “like Serbia is vaccinating faster” than the rest of Europe “with the Chinese vaccine.”
Thus far the EU has authorised three vaccines against Covid-19, developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca.