Russia Approves World’s First Coronavirus Vaccine, But Many Have Questions About Safety And Effectiveness

( Russia says it has won the race to approve a coronavirus vaccine.

On Tuesday, President Vladimir Putin announced he had approved a coronavirus vaccine for use. But there are plenty of questions that remain about the vaccine’s effectiveness and its safety.

On state TV, Putin announced:

“A vaccine against coronavirus has been registered for the first time in the world this morning. I know that it works quite effectively. It forms a stable immunity.”

Put said one of his daughters has taken the vaccine, and while she registered a slightly higher body temperature after taking each dose, “Now she feels well.”

Russia has called the vaccine Sputnik-V in a reference to the launch of the world’s first satellite in 1957 by the Soviet Union. The vaccine was developed by the Gamaleya Institute, which is based in Moscow.

The concern by many in the medical community, though, is that Sputnik-V hasn’t gone through Phase 3 trials. These are considered crucial, as it’s when the vaccine would be administered to thousands of humans to see how they respond.

Critics have said Russia cut a lot of corners during development of the vaccine just so they could be the first to claim victory. Russia has yet to release any scientific data regarding testing of Sputnik-V. Many media outlets haven’t been able to verify the effectiveness or the safety of the vaccine in question either.

Putin also claimed that there are at least 20 countries that have expressed their interest in the vaccine to him. He also claims there are some companies in the U.S. that have said the same.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund has been funding the vaccine’s research. Its head, Kirill Dmitriev, went as far as to say that they have received requests for more than 1 billion doses of Sputnik-V already. He said:

“We’ve seen considerable interest in the Russian vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Institute abroad. Moreover, we have received preliminary applications for over 1 billion doses of the vaccine from 20 countries.

“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.”

Others across the world are very skeptical. One of those skeptics is the senior research fellow in Global Health at the University of Southampton in the UK, Michael Head, who said:

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