Russia accused of ‘aggressive vaccine push in Africa’

France’s foreign minister has accused Russia of using its Sputnik coronavirus vaccine as an instrument of aggressive diplomacy.

Jean-Yves Le Drian contrasted the fanfare around a recent Russian delivery of a consignment of Sputnik V to Tunisia with that given to the much larger delivery through the UN-backed global Covax initiative.

He made a similar contrast with a delivery of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine in Senegal with Covax consignments.

The AFP news agency quotes the minister telling France’s Info Radio that Russia had announced “with a lot of media attention” that it would deliver 30,000 vaccine doses to Tunisia.

By then, the UN-backed initiative had already delivered 100,000 doses to the north African country, the AFP adds, quoting the minister.

The manufacturers of Sputnik V have not yet applied for market authorisation for the vaccine in the European Union, although EU regulators have begun a rolling review of test data.

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