Bavaria to sign preliminary purchase agreement for Sputnik vaccine

Germany’s southern region of Bavaria will sign a provisional agreement to buy doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, state premier Markus Söder told reporters.

Söder said at a press conference in Munich that a purchase agreement with a vaccine producer in Illertissen, Bavaria, would be signed Wednesday. He stressed, however, that the vaccine won’t be administered before it receives regulatory approval by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

“If Sputnik is approved in Europe, then the Free State of Bavaria will receive additional vaccine doses — I think it’s 2.5 million doses — probably in July through this company that is operating in Bavaria, in Illertissen, to then once again increase the additional capacity for vaccination in Bavaria,” Söder said following a meeting of the Bavarian state cabinet.

He added that this is a “pre-option” to secure the doses, provided that Sputnik V receives EMA approval. The company in Illertissen would then produce the vaccine under authorization from the Russian developer.

At the same press conference, Söder — a top potential contender to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor in September’s election — also called for a nationwide lockdown in Germany to stop the spread of coronavirus infections.

“Now is not the time for unsafe openings, not the time for experiments, but it is better to play it safe now,” he said, adding: “It’s better to be cautious for longer now, and be able to open up for longer and more sustainably at a later stage.”

Yet Söder conceded that several other German state premiers did not share his opinion, adding that it therefore looks unlikely that Germany will take such a stricter course any time soon.

Armin Laschet, the state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia and Söder’s main rival to become the conservative bloc’s chancellor candidate, recently clashed with Merkel over her push to reintroduce tougher restrictions.



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