Eastern European countries continue to look beyond the Western firms supplying vaccines as the pandemic rages in this part of the world. Most recently, CanSino Biologics, a Chinese vaccine maker, announced its vaccine was granted authorization for emergency use by the Hungarian National Institute of Pharmacy and Nutrition for the vaccine known as Convidecia. Hungary is the first EU nation to procure and accept a Russian or Chinese vaccine product and has raised some eyebrows in Europe due to employing a separate approval process and negotiation pathway. But as production challenges and safety issues surface with Western vaccine makers, countries, especially in the east, face a two-prong challenge of a raging pandemic and lack of treatment options. With 10 million people residing in Hungary and a ranging pandemic, the government sought more access to vaccines. TrialSite also reported a sizeable clinical trial investigating the use of ivermectin commenced recently.
Hence the move recently by Hungary also to approve the COVID-19 vaccine made by National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), a Chinese government-owned firm. In fact, they agreed to pay top dollar at $36 per dose, reported the New York Times recently. In parallel, Slovakia’s Prime Minister recently further shook up an already unstable governing coalition procuring the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.
As reported in Reuters, the single-dose Convidecia is also authorized in China, Pakistan and Mexico. This third pandemic wave has hit Eastern Europe especially hard. In Hungary, by last Friday, the country recorded over 10,000 infections per day with a daily death toll of 213.