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Macron: Russian Covid vaccine welcome if given approval

The Sputnik V vaccine is 91.6% effective in protecting against symptomatic Covid-19, a peer-reviewed study published in The Lancet shows

French President Emmanuel Macron has confirmed that all vaccines - including the Russian-developed Sputnik V - that are given approval by European and national health authorities will be welcome in France.

He said that as soon as Sputnik V is submitted for approval, “the European authorities and our national authorities will take an independent scientific look at this vaccine and, depending on these results and the evidence, will decide whether or not to approve it.”

He said it was not a political decision, but a scientific decision. 

Mr Macron was responding to a question during an interview on television channel TF1 yesterday (February 2), where the journalist asked for his thoughts on German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying she was open to any vaccine approved by EU and national health authorities.

Mr Macron said his opinion was “exactly the same”. 

Dr Alain Fischer, the official coordinator of France’s vaccination campaign, has previously said he is also open to any vaccine that is proven scientifically safe and effective.

The Lancet, a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal, yesterday published a study showing that the Sputnik V vaccine is 91.6% effective in protecting against symptomatic Covid-19. 

For comparison, Moderna’s vaccine is 94.1% effective, Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine is 95% effective and the AstraZeneca vaccine is between 62% and 70% effective for patients under 65 years old. 

AstraZeneca vaccine recommended for under 65s in France

The Sputnik V vaccine was rolled out in some countries before the final trial data had been released, provoking concerns among some scientists. 

The study in the Lancet acknowledged this, with the researchers writing that “the development of the Sputnik V vaccine has been criticised for unseemly haste, corner cutting, and an absence of transparency.”

They add that, “the outcome reported here is clear and the scientific principle of vaccination is demonstrated, which means another vaccine can now join the fight to reduce the incidence of COVID-19.”

“The trial results show a consistent strong protective effect across all participant age groups,” the researchers wrote.

The Sputnik vaccine works in a similar way to the AstraZeneca jab developed in the UK, and the Janssen vaccine developed in Belgium.

Read more:

When will France receive more Covid vaccine doses?

AstraZeneca vaccine recommended for under 65s in France

Covid-19 France: Can you choose which vaccine to get?

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