Russia on Tuesday announced it had developed the world’s first vaccine offering “sustainable immunity” against coronavirus (COVID-19.
President Vladimir Putin said the vaccine was safe and that one of his daughters had received the inoculation, dubbed “Sputnik V” after the pioneering 1950s Soviet satellite.
“I know that it is quite effective, that it gives sustainable immunity. And I repeat, it has passed all the necessary checks,” Putin said of the vaccine developed by the Gamaleya research institute in collaboration with Moscow’s Ministry of Defence.
He told a government meeting that his daughter, who took the drug as a volunteer, feels good.
The health ministry said though clinical trials were not yet complete, final-stage testing involving more than 2,000 people was billed to start today.
When asked about Russia’s announcement by ABC News’ “Good Morning America, United States Health Secretary Alex Azar, said: “The point is not to be first with a vaccine. The point is to have a vaccine that is safe and effective.”
Some international experts have also questioned the speed at which Russia approved Sputnik V.
“Normally, you need a large number of people to be tested before you approve a vaccine,” said Peter Kremsner from the University Hospital in Tuebingen, Germany, currently testing CureVac’s COVID-19 vaccine in clinical trials.
“In that respect, I think it’s reckless to do that (approve it) if lots of people haven’t already been tested,” Kremsner added.