WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- President Vladimir Putin may have declared Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine to be the world’s first safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, but he has yet to take the vaccine himself.
- Preliminary results have shown the vaccine to be over 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 infections, and vaccinations have already started across the country.
- A Kremlin spokesman explained, however, that the vaccine is yet to be certified, and that “the head of state can’t take part in vaccination as a volunteer.”
Russia may have declared its Sputnik V vaccine to be the world’s first safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine last week, but President Vladimir Putin is yet to take the vaccine himself.
When asked if the president has been given the vaccine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded, “We have not yet begun widespread vaccination and the head of state can’t take part in vaccination as a volunteer. It’s impossible. The president can’t use an uncertified vaccine.”
Initial tests showed that Sputnik V is 91.4% effective in preventing COVID-19 infections, according to vaccine developers. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) declared that preliminary trials showed the effectivity of the vaccine to be over 95% effective. The final results are yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, however.
Sputnik V’s registration was announced back in August. A second inoculation was then approved in October, even though Phase 3 trials were still being implemented to ensure safety and efficacy.
The country’s medical workers, officials, and teachers have already received vaccinations. Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova declared that vaccine manufacturers aim to produce around 2.9 million doses before the year ends.
At 68, Putin is considered to have a higher risk. Trials involving volunteers aged 60 and over only began on Oct. 28, according to state-run Tass news service.
The RDIF declared on Tuesday that a two-shot course of Russia’s Sputnik V treatment will be priced at less than $20 in international markets. This price is considerably cheaper than the ones produced by foreign competitors, Moderna Inc. and Pfizer Inc.
Russian citizens are set to receive the vaccinations for free.
RDIF declared that it aims to provide doses for 500 million people across the world in 2021, which will be delivered starting in January.
At least two dozen manufacturers in Russia had made efforts to produce a vaccine, but the RDIF chose state-run Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology for its human adenovirus-based technology. Chief Executive Officer Kirill Dmitriev said that this technology had been tried and tested for other diseases.
Dmitriev added that the “RDIF made the right bet,” judging from their vaccine’s preliminary results and low pricing.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Russia is the fifth highest in the world. The country reported a total of over 2 million cases in the past week.