On March 8th, the head of the Amsterdam-based European Medicines Agency (EMA) said that receiving the Russian Sputnik V vaccine was a “Russian roulette”.
The Amsterdam-based European Medicines Agency (EMA) launched a rolling review of the Sputnik V vaccine, a key step towards being approved as the first non-Western jab to be used across the 27-nation bloc.
Hungary has already approved Sputnik V and started using it as part of its vaccine rollout, while the Czech Republic and Slovakia have also ordered doses and say they will not wait for EMA approval.
Asked about the prospect of Austria taking the same step, EMA management board chair Christa Wirthumer-Hoche told Austria’s ORF broadcaster:
“It’s somewhat comparable to Russian roulette.”
“I would strongly advise against a national emergency authorisation,” she said, pointing to the fact that there was not yet sufficient safety data about those who had already been given the vaccine.
“We could have Sputnik V on the market in future, when we’ve examined the necessary data,” she said, adding that the vaccine needed to match up to European criteria on quality control and efficacy.
The official Russian Sputnik V account called out the EMA head, asking for an apology and for an unbiased review, as the other US-made and EU-made vaccines had gotten.
EMA did not allow such statements about any other vaccine. Such comments are inappropriate and undermine credibility of EMA and its review process. Vaccines and EMA should be above and beyond politics.
— Sputnik V (@sputnikvaccine) March 8, 2021
Europeans deserve an unbiased review as was undertaken by 46 other countries. After postponing Sputnik V review for months, EMA does not have the right to undermine credibility of 46 other regulators that reviewed all of the necessary data.
— Sputnik V (@sputnikvaccine) March 8, 2021
The tweets said that 46 other regulators had unbiasedly reviewed the vaccine and found it fitting, and that this had been incredibly one-sided from the beginning.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz met the top Russian official in charge of marketing Sputnik V, and had previously emphasised that vaccine procurement should not be subject to “geopolitical struggles”.
Kurz has said however that Austria will wait for EMA approval before using the vaccine.
Russia has said it is ready to provide jabs for 50 million Europeans as soon as Sputnik V gets the green light.
It should be reminded that these vaccines are quite needed as the EU has been incredibly slow and inefficient in procuring and using its vaccines.
The EU has so far authorized three vaccines: the US-German Pfizer/BioNTech jab, US firm Moderna’s shot, and the British-Swedish AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine.
It is set to decide on the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine on March 11, while jabs by Novavax and CureVac are also under rolling review.
Only the review of Sputnik V is being turned into a publicity stunt and spread all across MSM.
Additionally, it appears that the questionable success of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines is also because of alleged Russian propaganda.
According to the WSJ, Russian intelligence agencies have mounted a campaign to undermine confidence in Pfizer Inc.’s and other Western vaccines, using online publications that in recent months have questioned the vaccines’ development and safety, citing unnamed U.S. officials.
An official with the State Department’s Global Engagement Center, which monitors foreign disinformation efforts, identified four publications that he said have served as fronts for Russian intelligence.
The websites played up the vaccines’ risk of side effects, questioned their efficacy, and said the U.S. had rushed the Pfizer vaccine through the approval process, among other false or misleading claims.
“We can say these outlets are directly linked to Russian intelligence services,” the Global Engagement Center official said of the sites behind the disinformation campaign. “They’re all foreign-owned, based outside of the United States. They vary a lot in their reach, their tone, their audience, but they’re all part of the Russian propaganda and disinformation ecosystem.”
In addition, Russian state media and Russian government Twitter accounts have made overt efforts to raise concerns about the cost and safety of the Pfizer vaccine in what experts outside the U.S. government say is an effort to promote the sale of Russia’s rival Sputnik V vaccine.
“The emphasis on denigrating Pfizer is likely due to its status as the first vaccine besides Sputnik V to see mass use, resulting in a greater potential threat to Sputnik’s market dominance,” says a forthcoming report by the Alliance for Securing Democracy, an “independent” think-tank that’s entirely funded by the US government and NATO entities.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied that Russian intelligence agencies were orchestrating articles against Western vaccines and said U.S. officials were mischaracterizing the broad international debate over vaccines as a Russian plot.
“It’s nonsense. Russian special services have nothing to do with any criticism against vaccines,” Peskov said in a telephone interview from Moscow. “If we treat every negative publication against the Sputnik V vaccine as a result of efforts by American special services, then we will go crazy because we see it every day, every hour and in every Anglo-Saxon media.”
With Russia and China seeking to sell their vaccines abroad, overt efforts to denigrate Pfizer have been well documented.
The forthcoming German Marshall Fund report, which was reviewed by the Journal that is to be issued, analyzed more than 35,000 Russian, Chinese and Iranian government and state media tweets on vaccine themes from early November to early February.
“Russia provided by far the most negative coverage of Western vaccines.” it states, “with a remarkable 86% of surveyed Russian tweets mentioning Pfizer and 76% mentioning Moderna coded as negative.”
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