Austria will become just the second European Union member to administer the Sputnik V vaccine, after Hungary.
Kurz said on Wednesday evening “we are in the closing stages and an order for Sputnik V can probably be placed next week”.
Kurz said on social media he was “very happy about the binding delivery promise” he made with Russia’s ambassador Dmitrij Lyubinsky.
Wir sind auf den letzten Metern & eine Bestellung von Sputnik kann wahrscheinlich schon nächste Woche erfolgen. Ich habe heute noch einmal ein Gespräch mit dem russischen Botschafter Dmitrij Ljubinskij geführt & ich bin sehr froh über die verbindliche Lieferzusage. @RusBotWien pic.twitter.com/6KvPFqHjzk
— Sebastian Kurz (@sebastiankurz) March 31, 2021
Austria’s Der Standard newspaper reported on Wednesday that Austria looks set to place a delivery of the vaccine even before it receives approval from the European Union’s medical authority.
Though EU member Hungary is already administering Sputnik V and a total of 57 countries have authorised its use, according to the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), it is still under review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
The office of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told AFP on Tuesday that the talks had started on February 26 over the delivery of 300,000 doses in April, 500,000 in May and 200,000 in early June 2021.
Specifics of the arrangement are difficult to determine however as the deal is subject to a confidentiality agreement, Austrian media reports.
Foreign media is reporting that the deal to import the vaccine has already been done.
Earlier this month, Kurz and five other central and eastern EU leaders urged Brussels to find a “correction mechanism” to fix what they called the unfair distribution of coronavirus vaccines within the bloc.
“If Austria receives an additional one million vaccine doses, we will be able to return to normality faster and could save many lives as well as jobs,” Kurz said.
“There should be no geopolitical blinkers when it comes to the vaccine. The only thing that should matter is whether the vaccine is effective and safe, and not where it comes from.”
Austrian Health Minister Rudolf Anschober agreed, saying “One thing is clear: every vaccine used in Austria must be effective and safe”.
The Russian vaccine is used in more than 50 other countries around the world. The effectiveness is given as around 92 percent.