Putin hopes that the WHO will approve Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine as soon as possible

Moscow (Associated Press)-Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed on Sunday that he hopes that the World Health Organization will quickly approve the country’s Sputnik-V coronavirus vaccine, saying that this move is essential to expand its global supply.

Putin said in a video call with Francesco Rocca, president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, that accepting WHO’s review is important for the wider spread of Russian vaccines worldwide. (Including free supply) is necessary.

“We intend to expand this type of assistance,” Putin said.

The Russian leader also argued that WHO’s approval should open the door for Russians and others vaccinated with Sputnik V, allowing them to travel around the world more freely. He said that about 200 million people in the world have received Sputnik V.

Putin was vaccinated with the Sputnik V vaccine in the spring, and last month he received a booster injection of a single-dose version of Sputnik Light. He also said that he took the experimental nasal version of Sputnik V a few days after receiving the booster injection, adding that he felt good and did not have any side effects.

The Gamaleya Institute, which developed Sputnik V, stated that the vaccine is effective against the omicron variant of COVID-19, but announced that it will immediately start adjusting it to deal with the new variant.

Russia is the first country in the world to approve a coronavirus vaccine. Sputnik V was launched in August 2020 and the supply is sufficient. But the slow absorption rate is partly due to the conflicting signals sent by the Russian authorities.

In recent months, Russia has faced the deadliest and largest surge in coronavirus cases, with the number of infections and deaths climbing to record highs and only slowing down in the past few weeks. According to data from the government’s coronavirus task force, Russia has the highest number of confirmed pandemic deaths in Europe, with more than 281,000 people. But a report released by the national statistical agency Rosstat on Friday used a broader standard, putting the total number of virus-related deaths between April 2020 and October 2021 to more than 537,000, almost twice the official death toll.

Despite the surge in the number of infections in Russia, Putin has repeatedly argued that vaccination should be voluntary. He emphasized on Sunday that Russian authorities have been trying to use “persuasion rather than pressure” and to eliminate “prejudices and myths that drive people to hate vaccination.”

Russia’s rapid approval of Sputnik 5 has aroused criticism abroad because it was only tested on dozens of people at the time. However, a study published in the British medical journal The Lancet in February showed that Sputnik V has an effective rate of 91% and seems to prevent vaccinators from getting serious illnesses from COVID-19.

Russia is actively promoting Sputnik 5 around the world, but it faces a bottleneck in the number of its promises. Latin American countries complained about the delay in launching the second Sputnik 5 satellite.

As part of the approval process, the World Health Organization has been reviewing data on the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. Such approval may pave the way for its inclusion in the COVAX program, which ships COVID-19 vaccines to dozens of countries around the world as needed.

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