Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said Wednesday that Romania would not use a Russian vaccine claiming to offer immunity against SARS-CoV-2, and will wait for the European Union to approve a tried and tested vaccine.
„Romania is part of the EU and signs contracts with EU entities,” Iohannis said at a press conference in Bucharest. “There is no external validation for this aforementioned vaccine.”
He added: „It is important for Romania to know that in the EU, there isn’t an accepted, approved, vaccine but the EU is supporting several research projects and hopes that in the near future there will be a Covid-19 vaccine.”
On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Russia was the first country to register a vaccine offering “sustainable immunity” against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute in Moscow, the vaccinei is called Sputnik V, a reference to the 1957 Soviet Union satellite. it’s been registered with the Russian Health Ministry and approved for emergency use only.
But there are concerns it will soon be rolled out across the Russian population, far beyond emergency use.
The move that was met with international skepticism and wariness because the shots have only been studied in dozens of people.
Experts said that while speed is important, ensuring a vaccine is effective and safe is much more critical. The consequences of using a potentially unsafe and ineffective vaccine could be wide-reaching.
Top US infectious disease official Dr Anthony Fauci on Wednesday said he doubts that Russia has proven a newly announced Covid-19 vaccine is safe and effective.
Iohannis said that Romania has “registered for the first 10 million doses, when the first vaccine becomes available in the EU.
But at this time, there is no EU-approved vaccine, “he added.
Separately, Iohannis commented on the recent murder of a Romanian mobster, Emi Pian, which exposed links between criminal gangs and senior police officers.
The president said: “for too many years, during the Social Democrats were in government, these mobsters were tolerated. Now they aren’t tolerated any more but the fight against the clans is a long battle.”
He said he had discussed the issue with the current interior minister, Marcel Vela of the Liberal Party, and Romania’s police chief.
“There are real concerns in the interior ministry, they are getting organized and taking measures, but unfortunately, we shouldn’t expect this problem to go away overnight,” he told reporters.