03:58 GMT03 March 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz says he is ready to get vaccinated with the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine or the Chinese vaccine, if they are approved by the EU.

    "Yes [I am ready to get vaccinated], if the vaccines [Russia’s and China’s] are approved in Europe," Kurz said in an interview with the German Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

    The chancellor said that Austria was ready to organize production of Russian or Chinese vaccines, as well as coronavirus vaccines from any other country, provided they get EU approval.

    Kurz said earlier that there should be "no geopolitical taboos" in approving the COVID-19 vaccine, since every additional one, given that it is efficient and approved, is crucial for combating the pandemic.

    The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), responsible for marketing the vaccine abroad, has initiated the process to get Sputnik V approved in the EU. Hungary was the first of the EU countries to start using the Russian vaccine while Serbia hopes to set up joint production of Sputnik V.

    The EU drug regulator has so far only authorized COVID-19 vaccines by three producers — UK company AstraZeneca, US-German duo Pfizer/BioNTech, and US company Moderna. On Friday, leaders of Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Greece sent a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen asking her to continue dialogue with COVID-19 vaccine producers to ensure a timely supply of the volume of vaccine contracted.

    Von der Leyen said on Tuesday that the EU could approve Russia and China's coronavirus vaccines if their developers "show transparency." Her comment came right after peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet published an interim analysis from the phase 3 trial of the Russian vaccine, showing its 91.6 percent efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19.

    Roman Haider, an EU lawmaker from the Freedom Party of Austria, told Sputnik that von der Leyen's remark was an attempt to save face and her position as the EU authorities grapple with criticism over slowdown in vaccination across the 27-nation bloc. AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, and Moderna have all delayed the European supplies beyond the contracted schedule, prompting the EU to adopt extra administrative regulations, such as mandating the European-based manufacturers to request authorization before exporting to third countries.

    Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine has already been approved by over a dozen countries.

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