Vladimir Putin Claims Russia Has Approved ‘World’s First’ Covid-19 Vaccine

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of this vaccine has many scientists questioning it’s safety and effectiveness. 

Embed from Getty Images

Putin announced the approval of the vaccine this Tuesday, claiming it to be the “world’s first” coronavirus treatment, however, many healthcare professionals around the world, including Russia, are concerned over the many unanswered questions in terms of the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness. 

Putin claimed that he knew for a fact that the vaccine was effective and forms stable immunity, as one of his daughters has already taken it. He said that his daughter had a slightly higher temperature after each dose but as of right now “she feels well.” The vaccine itself was developed by the Gamaleya Institute in Moscow and has been named Sputnik-V, which is a direct reference to the Soviet Union/world’s first space satellite that launched in 1957. 

The vaccine, however, unlike the other potential Covid-19 treatments currently enduring trial periods, hasn’t even gone through Phase 3 testing; phase 3 has been seen as the most crucial phase for vaccine development as it tests on a large population of people over a long period of time to ensure its effectiveness. Around 5 other vaccines are in phase 3 of development internationally, and are now being administered to over 30,000 individuals per trial. 

Despite the lack of scientific evidence on Russia’s testing of the vaccine, experts working on it claim it’s completely safe and effective; to clarify though, there is still no concrete data on the specifics of this vaccine and its potential side effects. Kirill Dmitriev is the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, the organization responsible for funding the vaccine’s research, and he claims that at least 20 countries and even some US companies have already reached out expressing interest in the vaccine. 

“We’ve received preliminary applications for over 1 billion doses from 20 countries. We are prepared to manufacture 500 million doses of vaccine per year in five countries and ramp up production after.”

Dmitriev claims that Latin America, the Middle East and Asia have expressed the greatest interest in Russia’s vaccine specifically, and contracts are currently being finalized for distribution. He also confirmed that phase 3 trials of the vaccine will still be occurring and beginning on Wednesday in Russia and other countries as well. 

Danny Altmann, Professor of Immunology at Imperial College London, recently spoke with scientific publications on the healthcare industries uneasiness in relation to Moscow’s rapidly approved vaccine. “The collateral damage from release of any vaccine that was less than safe and effective would exacerbate our current problems insurmountably. I hope these criteria have been followed. We are all in this together.”

Russian health minister Mikhail Murashko also spoke when Putin made the announcement, and responded to these concerns by claiming that the vaccine has already shown high efficiency and safety in those it’s been administered to. However, all the public knows about the volunteers is what their government has told them about them, which so far is just that those who participated in taking the vaccine already have developed high levels of Covid-19 antibodies with no real complications to their immunization. Still, healthcare experts are concerned with the public’s intense desire for this pandemic to be over and the fact that they believe many will take a vaccine despite there being a major lack of evidence surrounding its effectiveness. 

Embed from Getty Images

“It is vital that any vaccine roll-out has the confidence of the general public, and that there is good communication of the level of effectiveness and any likely side effects. At this point in time, there is no data on the Russian-led vaccine for the global health community to scrutinize.”

Embed from Getty Images

The coronavirus has now infected more than 20 million people and killed over 730,000 around the world. As of right now there are about 25 vaccines in the clinical evaluation stage of development, and another 139 potential candidates in the pre-clinical evaluation stage, according to the World Health Organization. 

As previously mentioned, there are also around 5 vaccines gearing up to enter Phase 3 in human trials, which will involve administering the vaccine to individuals living in Covid-19 hot-spots around the world; or areas of the world where the virus has been the most prominent and easily spread. 

The University of Oxford, pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and biotech company Moderna have all developed vaccines currently undergoing phase 3 testing. These three potential vaccines are the ones that world leaders are putting the most confidence into, as they’ve been the most well-researched by our world’s greatest scientific/healthcare professionals. 

This past June, the Chinese government also approved the use of an experimental Covid-19 vaccine for the country’s military as a means of trial testing and protecting soldiers in their risky close-contact professions.  That specific vaccine has received a relatively standard response from experts, who claim it didn’t necessarily help eradicate the virus, but it didn’t hurt either, it’s more so been seen as a treatment as opposed to a full-on vaccine. 

As of right now there’s no word on the actual effectiveness of Russia’s new coronavirus vaccine, or how it even works for that matter, so the world must continue to wait and see what healthcare leaders throughout the globe have to say.