The Austrian-Russian Friendship Society (ORFG) is ready to back possibility of holding trials of the Russian coronavirus vaccine in Austria. New ORFG General Director Markus Stender said in an interview with TASS that members of this networking society have great interest in and desire to get vaccinated with Russia’s Sputnik V.
Speaking about the interest in the Russian vaccine in Austria, Stender noted that he is unaware whether Austrian medical organizations or virologists studied Sputnik V. "If there is an opportunity to obtain here samples [of the vaccine] for trials, the ORFG will naturally support it and will suggest that relevant organizations study the vaccine. Although, as you know, we have strong regulations for holding trials. <…> I would welcome that with open arms because there is certain skepticism in the world regarding it [the Russian vaccine]," Stender noted.
In particular, the general director said that the new presidium of the ORFG approached the members of the society for new ideas and proposals as one of its first initiatives. "Regarding Sputnik V, one of the members asked the presidium to support the initiative for ORFG members to travel to Russia to get vaccinated or for us [presidium] to secure shipments of the vaccine to Austria so that ORFG members and others here could get the shot," he told TASS.
According to Stender, it can serve as proof that the ORFG is aware of the Russian healthcare achievements. "It demonstrated that there is great interest in the Russian vaccine among our members, which we have 5,000. Not everyone can get vaccinated but the interest is there," he added.
The ORFG general director is also certain that the networking society can play a leading role in improving dialogue between Russia and the EU amid sanctions. "We have opportunities to facilitate dialogue. Dialogue to overcome differences due to sanctions, especially between Austria and Russia," he underscored.
"We should strengthen friendship between nations. It can be developed irrespective of political differences," Stender pointed out. "Correspondingly, we can contribute to at least lowering obstacles between the EU and Russia."