Russia ‘ready to help’ vaccinate people in Ireland, Ambassador says

‘We are open for any discussions on vaccine supplies to Ireland,’ Yuriy Filatov says

Vials of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against Covid-19. Photograph: EPA

Vials of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against Covid-19. Photograph: EPA

 

The Russian Ambassador to Ireland, Yuriy Filatov, has said his home country is ready to “help” vaccinate people in Ireland against Covid-19, but that the Irish authorities have not yet approached Russia about ordering its Sputnik V vaccine.

In an email sent last night to Independent TD Richard O’Donoghue , Ambassador Filatov stated “many Irish citizens” had written to the Embassy “asking if the Irish government contacted on the issue of Sputnik V supplies and seeking the ways to receive the Russian jab”.

“I would like to assure all of them that we would like to help and are open for any discussions on vaccine supplies to Ireland as well as other aspects of cooperation with the Russian vaccine producers – if there is an interest on the Irish Government side,” Mr Filatov added.

The European Medicines Agency is conducting a rolling review of data from Sputnik V vaccine, with European Commission president Ursula Von Der Leyen last week saying there was no evidence as yet of production capacity for the vaccine, a detail required for approval by the EMA.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has previously stated that while the data on Sputnik V was “as good as the Pfizer vaccine” the government would wait on the results of the EMA review of the Russian vaccine.

However, he accused Russia of not vaccinating “much of their own population” and that, “while they are giving some of their allies some vaccines, it’s not going to be a game-changer for us”.

In last night’s email to Richard O’Donoghue, Russian Ambassador Filatov said the main issue for countries “is to provide as many vaccines as possible”.

He argued, “Sputnik V, which became the first registered vaccine against coronavirus in the world, is one of the most effective and safe vaccines showing efficacy of 91.6 per cent and is the main vaccine in the rollout in Russia”.

Mr Filatov said other countries had been initially sceptical of Sputnik V, “but life has proven all sceptics wrong”, and it is now “recognised by the international scientific community”.

“As of today, this vaccine is approved for use in 51 countries” and “Russia continues to receive many requests from partners, including the EU members, for direct supplies of Sputnik V”.

A Department of Health spokeswoman stated: “While it is a matter for the individual Member State as regards whether it wishes to authorise a vaccine for emergency usage, doing so incurs significant risk on the Member State concerned and could contribute to vaccine hesitancy more generally”.

“Ireland supports the EU Procurement Process, the purpose of which is to secure safe and efficacious vaccines for EU citizens,” she said.