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Coronavirus

Spain ‘open’ to using Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine

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Spain is “open” to using Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine as long as it is approved by European regulators, Health Minister Carolina Darias said Wednesday.

The shot – named after the Soviet-era satellite – faced criticism last year when it was approved in Russia before large-scale clinical trials.

But analysis of data from 20,000 Phase 3 trial participants, published Tuesday in medical journal The Lancet, suggested that the vaccine was over 90 percent effective, putting it on par with Western-developed vaccines like Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

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“This government will wholeheartedly welcome any vaccine which is authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA),” Darias told MPs in parliament when asked if Madrid would consider using the Russian jab.

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“That is the only condition,” she added.

Her comments echo those of German Chancellor Angela Merkel who said Tuesday all coronavirus vaccines “are welcome” in the European Union once they have received regulatory approval, while France has said it would distribute the jab if it meets European “scientific norms.”

Within the EU, Hungary is the only nation to authorize use of the vaccine without waiting for the EMA’s ruling and has so far received 40,000 doses.

Sputnik V has been approved in more than 15 countries, including ex-Soviet nations like Belarus and Armenia, allies like Venezuela and Iran, but also Argentina, Algeria, Tunisia and Pakistan.

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