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BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday said all coronavirus vaccines “are welcome” in the EU once they have received regulatory approval, after Russia’s Sputnik V jab was found to be 91.6 percent effective in trial results.

“Every vaccine is welcome in the European Union,” Merkel said in an interview with German broadcaster ARD, as the bloc faces growing anger over a sluggish start to its inoculation campaign.

The veteran leader stressed however that all jabs must first be authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), whose decisions can only be reached with “the necessary data”.

“Today we have read good data for the Russian vaccine too,” Merkel said. She repeated that she had recently spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin about the Sputnik vaccine, a conversation that fuelled hope another jab could be added to speed up efforts to end the pandemic.

Merkel said on January 21 that Germany had offered to assist Russia with its application process at the EMA, through Germany’s Paul Ehrlich Institute.

“And if this vaccine is approved by the EMA, then we can talk about joint production or also about usage,” Merkel said at the time. Sputnik V — named after the Soviet-era satellite — was approved in Russia months before results from its final-stage clinical trials were published, leading to scepticism from experts.

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