EU DEFIED: Hungary starts Russian jabs before approval from bloc

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Hungary has approved the jab for use within its own borders. Now the nation is ready to distribute the Russian-made vaccine without the official go-ahead from the European medicines regulator. Russia’s Sputnik V was released in August 2020.

However, the vaccine initially met with scepticism after claims development was rushed.

The jab is made by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute and named after the world’s first manmade object to be sent into orbit around the earth, Russia’s Sputnik.

However, the latest trials reveal the vaccine is 92 percent effective.

Now, Hungary has ordered two million doses of the jab and they will be delivered over the next three months.

The order placed by Hungary is enough to vaccinate one million people.

Budapest has already received its first batch, 2,800 doses that are to be given to vulnerable groups.

On Wednesday the European Medicines Agency entered into talks with the Gamaleya Institute to map out the next steps for the vaccine’s approval.

This meeting with the EU medicines agency co-incident with Germany’s Angela Merkel saying that “every vaccine is welcome” in the EU.

The fact that scientists at Hungary’s Gamaleya Institute self-administered the jab before the official start of EU clinical trials drew criticism from the bloc.

Before Hungary’s acceptance of Sputnik V, most of the exports from Russia were to developing nations that could not afford the Western-made vaccines.

Alexander Gabuev, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Centre, speaking to The Daily Telegraph, said: “The reputational baggage of this country is so bad that no one was expecting anything good from the vaccine.”

However, a late-stage trial by The Lancet earlier this month showed that the Russian made vaccine was more effective than many of its Western alternatives.

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Currently, 26 countries, including the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan, have approved Sputnik V.

The Lancet found that Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine was 91.6 percent effective against coronavirus.

It was also found to be100 percent effective against severe and moderate cases of the disease.

The Lancet study was from an interim analysis of the vaccine’s Phase 3 trial results.

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