Russia's Sputnik V vaccine will not be able to be approved in the European Union "before the end of June," the French secretary of state for European policy said on Thursday as some countries hope for approval soon to speed up the vaccination campaign.
“There is a first phase of testing (in the approval process) called a scientific review that will surely, we are told, last until mid-June,” Clement Beaune said on the Senate Committee on European Affairs.
"Then comes the last phase, and that is the opinion of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on the marketing authorization, which takes a few more weeks. Therefore, the vaccine will most likely not be approved before the end of June,” he added.
"The EU will then have a lot more doses of vaccine available, so the need will be much less urgent," he said.
Clement Beaune also warned of the limited production capacity of the Russian vaccine and accused Moscow, after some French and European leaders, of using Sputnik as a propaganda weapon on the international stage.
"Our Russian friends are using geopolitical moves and communication manoeuvres to show how present they are in the European Union," he said. "Let's not be naive, (they have) a division strategy in the EU which, fortunately, has so far failed, except for a few stab wounds," he said.
Among the 27 EU member states, so far only Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have decided to procure a Russian vaccine without waiting for EMA approval.
Other countries, such as Germany, are willing to use Sputnik V to combat a pandemic, if approved by the European Medicines Agency.