EU shame: Germans jetting to Russia for Covid vaccines –sick of waiting for Brussels’ jabs

Germany in talks with Russia for Sputnik vaccine says expert

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More than 50 arrived in Moscow late last week on a special tour organised by a firm hoping to cash in on growing frustrations over the European Union’s snail-paced jabs rollout. The vaccine tourists, who paid around £2,000 for the trip, received a shot of the Kremlin-backed Sputnik V jab before being given sightseeing tours of the lockdown-free capital. Uwe Keim, 46, a software developer from Stuttgart, said he decided to travel to Russia for a jab because he would have had to wait months before being offered one at home.

He said: “In Germany I saw that getting a regular vaccine was approximately five to ten months in the future, so it was too long for me.”

Enno Lenze told the BBC he’s “really sad” that he had to travel to Russia to receive a immunisation he couldn’t get in Germany.

He added: “In the end the vaccination situation is better here for me.”

Another German, Daniel, told the broadcaster he had travelled with his 70-year-old father to Moscow because neither had been offered a jab in their homeland.

Organiser Hans Blank said he had received countless calls from people across Germany who are “excited about an offer to go to Moscow with us”.

He added: “Lots of Germans want to go to Moscow to get the vaccinations and to combine the trip with a holiday or cultural programme, so it works.”

Russia has stepped in to offer jabs to foreigners after Serbia recently halted a similar scheme aimed at attracting vaccine tourists.

Norwegian firm World Visitors are selling a number of different packages to potential customers, including a 22-day stay in Russia or short trips to Turkey or Dubai between their first and second doses.

They say: “It made sense to implement the idea of offering this trip to concerned citizens who are very worried right now about when it will finally be their turn to get the vaccination.”

But the European Commission has raised concerns over its citizens flying to Russia to receive a jab not yet approved by EU regulators.

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The European Medicines Agency has questioned the safety and efficacy of the Russian Sputnik V jab.

A Commission spokesman said: “The vaccines that are part of our portfolio have been checked for their efficiency and safety by EMA, which is a very important element in this regard.”

Brussels also warned that Europeans could be barred from the bloc’s vaccine passports if they aren’t willing to wait for an EU-ordered jab.

Germany has suggested it will open talks with Moscow about purchasing Sputnik V doses for its own domestic rollout.

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Eurocrats have been widely accused of bungling the Continent-wide rollout of Covid immunisations.

So far, around 112 million doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered across the EU – at a rate of 25 per 100 people.

In contrast, Britain has delivered more than 42 million shots at a rate of 63 per 100 people.

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