Sputnik V Europe mass rollout gets backing from Macron and Merkel amid major delays

Sputnik V vaccine financier discusses support from EU leaders

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Kirill Dmitriev is head of Russian Direct Investment Fund which is financing the development and rollout of Sputnik V. While there was initial scepticism over the Russian vaccine, Mr Dmitriev said more and more countries are now approving it and will likely see its use in the European Union. Despite political tensions between the bloc and Russia due to the Alexei Navalny case and subsequent sanctions, Kirill Dmitriev says that he hopes the vaccine rollout will be non-political. 

Speaking to France 24, presenter Claire Pryde asked the CEO: “Do you think then this is a sort of political decision by the EU to not give the green light to Sputnik V when it has done to AstraZeneca and Pfizer?

Mr Dmitriev replied: “Well, first of all, we actually see great support from President Macron and he sent his great team to Russia and they are working with us, almost 24 hours a day. 

“We also have great support from Chancellor Merkel and they’re working with us as well. 

“So I think we have lots of European leaders who understand that they need to have many different vaccine and, by the way we also partner with AstraZeneca. 

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“But we also see big lobbying from some big pharma companies that are trying to slow Sputnik down.

“And try to you know spread different rumours that are false about it.

“We want the vaccine to be not political, I think this is one of the non-political bridges, Russia and Europe can really have together.”

Claire Pryde then asked: “Well, you know, Sputnik V has, at least in the past, come under some criticism because of a lack of transparency.

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“Mass vaccinations began in Russia before the results of phase three trials were released.

“Why did Russia do that and do you understand therefore why there has been some hesitancy about Sputnik V?”

Mr Dmitriev replied: “I think all of those questions can really be answered by the Lancet article that showed more than 90 percent efficacy.”

The Sputnik V vaccine is currently being reviewed by the European Medical Agency (EMA) for use in the EU. 

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However, European countries fed up with the bloc’s slow rollout have looked elsewhere for their doses and have struck up vaccination deals with providers directly. 

San Marino, Hungary and Serbia have signed deals with Russia to import Sputnik V. 

Hungary’s drug regulator approved the vaccine and used testing similar to the EMA. 

Serbia imports vaccines from China, Russia and North America and has one of the best population vaccine rates in Europe. 

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