BERLIN, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday that every COVID-19 vaccine is welcome in the European Union as the bloc is facing vaccine delivery difficulties.
Merkel made the remarks in a televised interview with the German public broadcast ARD program "Farbe bekennen."
"Serbia is vaccinating faster. Serbia is vaccinating with the Chinese vaccine. We have always said that every vaccine trying to obtain approval from the European Medicines Agency is very welcome," said Merkel.
"I have spoken to the Russian president about this. Today we read good data from the Russian vaccine," said Merkel, referring to the Russian Sputnik V corona vaccine with an efficacy rate of 91.6 percent, according to the data published on Tuesday in the medical journal The Lancet.
The German chancellor affirmed that by the end of summer everyone in Germany could be able to get at least the first of the two necessary vaccinations. So far nothing has gone wrong with the national vaccination campaign.
Merkel also said citizens could expect a relaxation of measures before everyone is vaccinated, but urged everyone to stick to distance rules and be careful.
Europe is now facing a vaccine shortage as pharmacies including AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech are supplying vaccines less than anticipated, drawing public criticism and prompting demands for alternatives.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn said Sunday that he is open to the use of vaccines from Russia or China in Germany, while Markus Soeder, minister-president of Germany's Bavaria State on Sunday called on the European supervision body to test Russian and Chinese vaccines "as soon as possible."