France's Europe minister, Clement Beaune, wearing a protective face mask, leaves following a weekly Cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France. Image Credit: Reuters

Paris: The solidarity of the European Union would be impacted if countries in the bloc chose Chinese or Russian COVID-19 vaccines which have not yet been approved, French European Affairs minister Clement Beaune said on Friday.

“If they went to choose the Chinese and/or Russian vaccine, I think it would be quite serious,” Beaune told RTL radio.

“It would pose a problem in terms of our solidarity, and it also poses a health risk problem, because the Russian vaccine is not yet authorised in Europe. A demand for approval has been made but it is not yet authorised in Europe, and no demand has even been made yet for the Chinese vaccine,” added Beaune.

Already approved

Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine has already been approved or is being assessed for approval in three states in the EU bloc’s eastern wing - Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic - as delays hamper vaccination programmes across the EU.

The EU’s drugs regulator has begun reviewing the Russian shot for possible approval.

Polish President Andrzej Duda has also talked with Chinese leader Xi Jinping about buying the Chinese COVID-19 shot, his aide told state-run news agency PAP on Monday, although Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said on Wednesday he did not currently recommend the vaccine due to insufficient data.

The European Commission said on Thursday that there were no talks under way about buying Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.