Finally, SPUTNIK V Vaccine hitting 60 countries to wash out COVID-19
Health officials in Russia approved a single-dose version of the Sputnik V Vaccine corona virus vaccine, the developers of shot said on Thursday. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) which helped finance the vaccine, said in a statement that “Sputnik Light” demonstrated 79.4% efficacy compared to 91.6% for the two shot Sputnik V Vaccine. The results, it said were drawn from data taken from 28 days after the injection was administered as part of Russia’s mass vaccination program between 5th December 2020 and 15th April 2021. The Russian vaccine has been approved for use in 60 countries. But it has not been approved yet by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or the United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The two-dose Sputnik V Vaccine will remain “the main source of vaccination in Russia,” said Russian Direct Investment Fund CEO Kirill Dmitriev, whose organization bankrolls the Sputnik shots. Sputnik Light will be exported “to our international partners to help increase the rate of vaccinations in a number of countries in the face of the ongoing fight with the pandemic and new strains of coronavirus,” he said. Sputnik V Vaccine Light is the fourth domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine approved in Russia. Commenting on the decision to authorize it for use, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday, “It’s nice to know that this range of tools (against COVID-19) is expanding.”
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Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said authorizing a fourth jab will help speed up the process of forming herd immunity against the virus. Most scientists believe at least 70% of a population needs to be immunized to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19, but the exact threshold is still unknown. The Russian Direct Investment Fund’s Dmitriev, said in a statement Thursday that “the single dose regimen solves the challenge of immunizing large groups in a shorter time, which is especially important during the acute phase of the spread of coronavirus, achieving herd immunity faster.”
Russia faced criticism last year for authorizing Sputnik V Vaccine before advanced trials had even started and for offering it to medical workers while those trials were underway. The criticism was blunted by a study published in February in the British medical journal The Lancet, which said the vaccine appeared safe and 91% effective against COVID-19 based on a trial involving about 20,000 people in Russia.
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Two other Russian vaccines — EpiVacCorona and CoviVac — also received regulatory approval before completing large-scale testing. No data on the efficacy of the vaccines has been released. Despite having several vaccines available and being one of the first countries to start immunizing its population, Russia is currently lagging behind a number of nations in terms of its vaccination rates.
According to Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, 13.4 million people in Russia, or just 9% of Russian population of 146 million, had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Thursday, while 9.4 million — 6% of the population— have been fully vaccinated. Experts have questioned whether Russia will be able to meet the government’s targets of vaccinating 30 million people by mid-June and nearly 69 million by August.
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