Cyprus is negotiating with Russia’s Gamaleya National Centre of Epidemiology and Microbiology to buy an amount of their COVID-19 vaccine, dubbed Sputnik V, once it will be approved by the European Medicines Agency, health ministry sources said on Friday.
News outlet Philenews quoted ministry sources as saying that Cyprus is to buy some 50,000 doses at a first stage, with the option for another 50,000.
The decision was taken by the Council of Ministers in early March in an effort to strengthen the vaccination programme, with Nicosia setting its immediate delivery as a condition for the purchase of the vaccine, as soon as it obtains the necessary permission from the EMA.
EMA has launched a rolling review of Sputnik V (Gam- COVID-Vac). That review would speed up any approval process by allowing researchers to submit findings in real-time before final trial data is ready.
The EU has so far approved four vaccines and has signed deals with western vaccine makers on behalf of the 27-member bloc, but production glitches, along with concerns over AstraZeneca’s jab with blood clotting incidents have slowed the rollout.
Hungary and Slovakia
However, countries like Hungary and Slovakia have already acquired the Russian vaccine.
The EMA had on March 4 announced it had started a rolling review of the vaccine.
The shot’s efficacy was initially greeted with scepticism by some western scientists after Russia approved it in August last year without waiting for the results of full clinical trials.
However, scientists later said it was more than 92% effective in fighting COVID-19, based on peer-reviewed late-stage trial results published in The Lancet medical journal in February.
Sputnik V is a two-shot vaccine which employs two different weakened common cold viruses to deliver immune-building protein to the human body.