A health worker in the ICU for patients with covid of a hospital in Gauting (Bavaria), on January 2.CHRISTOF STACHE / AFP
The German state of Bavaria will sign a preliminary contract with a German company on Wednesday to buy doses of the Russian vaccine Sputnik, its president, Markus Söder, announced after a meeting of his cabinet.
"If Sputnik is approved in Europe, Bavaria will receive additional vaccination doses through this company," said the Bavarian politician, president of the CSU, Angela Merkel's sister party of the CDU.
Söder has said that this agreement would mean the arrival of 2.5 million doses that will allow "increasing vaccination capacities in Bavaria."
The Russian Sputnik V vaccine has not yet been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA, for its acronym in English) and Söder has specified that the purchase would only occur after that authorization.
The company with which Bavaria is going to sign this preliminary contract is R-Pharm, a pharmaceutical plant in Illertissen, a town west of Munich, where it is planned to produce the Russian preparation.
The company has invested more than 30 million euros in improving its production capacity for when it can start.
Both Söder and Merkel's federal government have been promoting the rapid authorization of the Sputnik vaccine in Europe for weeks.
The Bavarian leader, one of two possible candidates to become a conservative candidate for the September general elections, has repeatedly assured that Europe should speed up the process in order to have Russian immunization as soon as possible.
Ayuso tried the purchase of the Russian vaccine against covid despite not having the skills to do so
Two countries of the European Union have already bought and are administering Sputnik: Hungary and Slovakia.
They have done so outside of the EU centralized procurement program and without waiting for EMA approval.
In both cases, their national drug agencies have approved the vaccine only for their territory.
Doses cannot be exported or circulated within the Union.
Brussels ensures that each state is free to approve the drugs it deems appropriate.
Neither Sputnik nor the Chinese Sinopharm, which has also bought Hungary, fall within the portfolio of vaccines of the joint European purchase, so in a strict sense the unit agreed between the 27 would not be breaking. For example, some country would unilaterally negotiate the purchase of extra doses with Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Janssen, the preparations that appear in the joint purchase agreement.
Theoretically, Germany could approve the Russian vaccine only for its territory, but the federal government maintains that it will wait for the EMA to approve the preparation.
Söder himself, in his announcement, has specified that he will only buy the doses after European approval.
The Bavarian leader has been in favor of a strict closure of public life in Germany, in line with what Angela Merkel proposes.
A spokeswoman for the federal government assured this Wednesday that Merkel is in favor of a "short and uniform" confinement throughout the country to contain the third wave of the pandemic.
In Germany the word
, or confinement, is used to refer to measures such as the closure of establishments or the prohibition of meetings.
It has always been allowed to go out for a walk or exercise, unlike the confinement that was experienced in Spain in the first wave.