Russia Has Approved First Coronavirus Vaccine, But Is It Safe?

The Vaccine

“A vaccine against coronavirus has been registered for the first time in the world this morning” Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday morning. However, there is still concern on whether it is safe and how effective it will be.

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Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, photo from post-gazette.com

it was developed by the Moscow-based Gamaleya Institute and has been named Sputnik-V. The crucial Phase 3 trials are still pending where it would be released to thousands of people to test it.

Many are saying that pressure from the Kremlin is the reason for the push for a vaccine to be created by Russia because the Kremlin still wants the country to be seen as the global force for science.

Russia has not released any scientific data to support the vaccine in its safety or effectiveness.

Officials from Russia tell CNN that 20 countries have shown interest in the vaccine and acquiring it for their citizens and that some US companies have expressed interest as well. Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) is funding research for the vaccine and head of the RDIF, Kirill Dmitriev, says that interest for over a billion doses has been received from these countries.

 Kirill Dmitriev | The Raging Patriot
Kirill Dmitriev, photo from ft.com

Dmitriev also said, “Along with our foreign partners, we are already prepared to manufacture over 500 million doses of vaccine per year in five countries, and the plan is to ramp up production capacity even higher. So far, countries in Latin America, the Middle East and Asia have displayed the greatest interest in the vaccine, and we are about to finalize a number of contracts for the purchase of the vaccine.”

Concern for Safety

In April, Russia made a law that eliminates the requirement for Phase 3 trials and testing to be conducted before the vaccine can be approved.

Many experts have voice their concern about the rapid production of the vaccine. Michael Head, Senior Research Fellow in Global Health at the University of Southampton in the UK, said,

“It is unclear precisely what is actually happening with the Russian vaccine,” 

Michael Head

He also mentioned the vitality of a new vaccine having the support of the general public and that there is transparency about the risks and effectiveness of the drug. He continued, “At this point in time, there is no data on the Russian-led vaccine for the global health community to scrutinize.”

Russia Has Approved First Coronavirus Vaccine, But Is It Safe? - COVID-19 vaccine | The Raging Patriot
Russian coronavirus vaccine, photo from france24.com

Other Countries Making Efforts As Well

According to the W.H.O. 25 vaccines have made it to the clinical evaluation stage and another 139 vaccines are in the preclinical evaluation stage.

Vaccines are in development at places including Oxford University, AstraZeneca, Moderna, and the US National Institute of Health.