The Hungarian pharmaceutical authority has approved both the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccines, a spokesperson for the Hungarian government told CNN on Thursday.
Hungary becomes the first European Union country to approve both vaccines, but as far as the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine goes, it says it has to wait for a decision by the European Medicines Agency before it can distribute the shot.
Speaking about Sputnik, the spokesperson said talks with Moscow to buy the vaccine were “ongoing.”
“We hope that vaccines will be available in Hungary from as many places and in as large quantities as possible,” the spokesperson added.
In a statement, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund (RDIF) said the National Institute of Pharmacy and Nutrition of Hungary approved the vaccine under the emergency use authorization procedure.
“The approval is based on the results of the clinical trials of Sputnik V in Russia and a comprehensive assessment of the vaccine by experts in Hungary,” the RDIF statement said.
Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the RDIF, said that Hungary is “the first EU country to realize all the advantages of Sputnik V vaccine and authorize its use. This decision is very important as it demonstrates that the vaccine’s safety and efficacy of over 90% are highly regarded by our partners in Hungary.”
Russia’s announcement of Sputnik V as the “world’s first” approved Covid-19 shot was met with international skepticism last year, after the country registered the vaccine in August ahead of key large-scale Phase 3 trials necessary to establish its efficacy and safety. While those trials are currently ongoing, the country is already moving towards mass vaccination.
On November 24, Russia announced that its interim data suggested the shot is at least 91.4% effective and could be more than 95% effective.