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The Kremlin has said it will not reveal the name of the vaccine Putin will receive, but that it will be one of three vaccines made in Russia.
“We are deliberately not saying what blow the president will get, noting that the three Russian vaccines are absolutely reliable and effective,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Reuters on Tuesday.
There are three Russian vaccines – Sputnik V, EpiVacCorona and CoviVac – and the latter two have only recently gained emergency approval.
The Russian president is expected to receive the vaccine on Tuesday evening, Peskov added. It is not known if he will be filmed receiving the photo, as Peskov noted that Putin did not like the idea of being vaccinated on camera.
Slow vaccine deployment
There are reports that Russia’s production capacity is low and Putin appears to be signaling it on Monday. He said Russia needed to increase production of household vaccines and meeting national needs was a priority, according to Reuters.
He noted that 4.3 million people in the country had already received two doses of the vaccine. That’s significantly higher than, for example, the UK which has given around 2.3 million people both doses to date, but Russia was the first country in the world to approve a vaccine against the coronavirus. (Sputnik V) in August 2020 – the UK approved its first shot in early December.
In early March, Putin noted that all but nine Russian regions had started rolling out the vaccine, with delays related to “problems with logistics, distribution (and) locations,” the Moscow Times reported.
Global immunization program data shows Russia is lagging behind many other countries in its own nationwide rollout, with the number of single doses administered in Russia hovering just above the number given in Bangladesh, according to Our World in Data.
Skepticism about vaccines
He noted that the latest data from the Levada Center, an independent pollster in Russia, suggests that only 30% of Russians “are ready to be vaccinated, a number which has actually declined since last year.”
“This is mainly due to concerns about side effects and the fact that the vaccine has not been sufficiently tested – in other words, while the Kremlin has received a propaganda boost by releasing the vaccine first,” it came at the cost of doubts about his safety, “McDowell noted.
Valentin Sprinchak | TASS | Getty Images
“The fact that Putin has waited this long to get himself vaccinated will not have gone unnoticed and will have contributed to these doubts,” McDowell added.
“The president’s vaccination will convince some Russians of the vaccine’s efficacy and safety (but) high levels of social mistrust and conspiratorial thinking will mitigate its impact. ”
He pointed out that the same poll data that showed 30% of Russians were ready to be vaccinated also revealed that almost two-thirds believed Covid had been artificially developed as a biological weapon.
International sales offers
RDIF, the Russian sovereign wealth fund that has supported the development and deployment of Sputnik V, said on Tuesday that Sputnik V has now been approved in 56 countries, with Vietnam being the latest to join the list. Several Eastern European countries, such as Hungary and Slovakia, have also ordered doses of Sputnik V.
Meanwhile, the European medicines regulator launched an ongoing review of Sputnik V earlier this month.
McDowell of Verisk Maplecroft pointed out that while the exports of 700 million doses were “an extremely ambitious number”, they likely include hinds produced overseas, in India and South Korea for example, under license.
Russia seemed to be justified in early February, when an interim review of Phase 3 clinical trials of the vaccine, involving 20,000 participants, was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet. He found the vaccine to be 91.6% effective against symptomatic Covid-19 infection.
In an accompanying article in The Lancet, Ian Jones, professor of virology at the University of Reading, England, noted that “the development of the Sputnik V vaccine has been criticized for its improper rush. But the result reported here is clear and the science behind the principle of vaccination has been demonstrated, which means that another vaccine can now join the fight to reduce the incidence of Covid-19. ”