PARIS (Reuters) – The European Union does not need Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine for COVID-19 and can achieve immunity across the continent using European production, a top EU executive said on Sunday in remarks that sparked a backlash. violent by the vaccine manufacturer.
The European Commission has come under fire for a slow launch of vaccines as the bloc faces a surge in cases and as the former British member’s vaccination program accelerates.
“We have absolutely no need for Sputnik V,” Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, who heads the EU executive’s working group on vaccines, told TF1 television.
“Today, we clearly have the capacity to deliver 300 to 350 million doses by the end of June, and therefore by July 14 … we have the possibility of achieving immunity across the continent,” he said.
July 14, or Bastille Day, is France’s national day.
Breton repeated an earlier comment that the EU should help Russia with the production of the vaccine if necessary, but Europeans should be prioritized, he said.
“The doses are there, now people must accept the vaccination and we have the logistics,” he said.
In a series of Twitter posts, vaccine maker Sputnik V accused Breton of being “clearly biased.”
“Europeans want a selection of safe and efficient vaccines, which so far has not provided them,” he said. “If this is an official EU position, please inform us that there is no reason to seek EMA approval due to your political biases. We will continue to save lives in other countries ”.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) launched an ongoing review of the Sputnik V vaccine earlier this month.
Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by Barbara Lewis and Daniel Wallis