At the moment over 50 countries across the globe have approved use of the "controversial" Sputnik V vaccine... controversial of course not with regards to science or effectiveness, but merely that it's Russian-produced.
There continues to be huge demand particularly in Latin America, where Brazil is foremost among those getting hit hard, suffering its deadliest month throughout the pandemic in March. But of most "concern" to EU and US officials, however, is that parts of Europe continue to do separate deals to obtain the Sputnik vaccine.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) appears to be dragging its feet in what likely comes down to a political decision (as opposed to a health and scientific decision) - as Bloomberg writes: "EU leaders were told during a recent video conference that it could take three to four months before Sputnik receives EMA approval, according to a diplomatic cable seen by Bloomberg. Some leaders questioned whether the drug would still be needed at that point, the note said."
The European Commission on Wednesday reportedly informed EU member states that Brussels does not intend to start talks with Russia for procuring Sputnik V, even as controversy continues over AstraZeneca and blood clots, and the ability of Europe to obtain enough jabs for herd immunity to the population.
This has prompted Germany to break step and start its own bilateral negotiations with Russia, as Reuters detailed Wednesday:
That is why German Health Minister Jens Spahn announced during the virtual meeting that Germany would start preliminary negotiations with Russia on a bilateral agreement to secure the vaccine, the source added.
In the preliminary talks, Germany first wants to determine which quantities Russia can deliver and when, the source said.
But then German officials included the further key caveat that it will only purchase the vaccine once it meets EMA approval - again, which would likely extend the timeline for procurement far enough out to bring into question whether it would be needed by time of the belated EMA approval. Late last month Berlin signaled it would likely pursue talks with Russia even if other EU member countries chose not to.
And within Germany, some regions/states are moving even faster: "Bavaria signed a preliminary agreement to secure as many as 2.5 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, some of which would be produced at a facility in the German state," writes Bloomberg.
"The deal with the state-run Russian Direct Investment Fund, which backed Sputnik V’s development and is in charge of its international roll-out, is contingent on the shot gaining European Union or German approval, Bavaria’s health ministry said in an emailed statement," the report revealed.
Recall that US and in some cases EU officials have linked the Sputnik V vaccine with Russia's "malign influence" and have further questioned the spread of the vaccine from a country that "has less than desirable values" - as the European Council president once put it.