BRUSSELS, March 5. /TASS/. EU member states have all legal rights to procure Russian or Chinese coronavirus vaccines, but they themselves will shoulder the consequences of their use, European Commission Chief Spokesman Eric Mamer said Friday.
According to the spokesman, the EU has established a portfolio of purchases of European Medicine Agency (EMA)-approved vaccines. However, an emergency procedure exists that allows individual member states to purchase vaccines from other suppliers, as long as these contracts are not signed with suppliers already included in the EMA portfolio.
"We [the EC - TASS] have defined a portfolio of joint purchases for the vaccine; this imposes on member states who do participate in this [an obligation] not to have parallel agreements with companies within that portfolio. Outside that portfolio, member states do have - legally speaking - the right to purchase vaccines from other suppliers," Mamer said.
Starting in August 2020, the EC signed contracts on preorder of 2.6 billion of vaccine doses from Western companies, of which only three are currently certified: Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca. All three vaccine makers have already commenced shipments, but in smaller volume than planned due to certain production and logistics issues.
Starting in January, Brussels was rocked by a series of scandals over consecutive statements of inability to fulfill the contracts for vaccine shipment from all three certified producers. According to the EC estimates, EU member states will receive only 106 million doses in the first three months of 2021, and only in the second quarter will the shipment reach the projected level of 300 million doses. As a result, most EU member states have already reviewed the vaccination procedure.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced Thursday that it launched a procedure of the Sputnik V expertise. The specialists will determine the vaccine’s compliance with the EU standards for efficiency, safety and quality. According to the Russian Direct Investment Fund head Kirill Dmitriev, EMA’s approval will make it possible to provide the Russian vaccine to the Europeans starting in June 2021.