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Putin got a coronavirus vaccine, but which one? Are all of Russia’s vaccines as good as the Kremlin claims?

4 cards
  • What happened?
  • Is it true that all of Russia’s coronavirus vaccines are “absolutely” effective, reliable, and safe?
  • Did Peskov offer some hint about which vaccine Putin received?
  • I want to know more about Russia’s coronavirus vaccines!
1

What happened?

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that Russian President Vladimir Putin received one of the Russian coronavirus vaccines on Tuesday, but refused to disclose which one. Apparently, from Peskov’s point of view, this isn’t a very important detail. Faced with questions from journalists, he simply claimed that “all three Russian vaccines are absolutely reliable, absolutely effective, and absolutely safe.”

2

Is it true that all of Russia’s coronavirus vaccines are “absolutely” effective, reliable, and safe?

No. Unless, of course, Dmitry Peskov has managed to look into the future.

All three Russian vaccines — Sputnik V (originally registered as Gam-COVID-Vac), EpiVacCorona, and CoviVac — have indeed been registered by the Russian Health Ministry. But this happened before, not after, efficacy and safety studies.

Currently, there is simply no data on the effectiveness of two of these vaccines. EpiVacCorona’s efficacy study is ongoing, but there aren’t even statements from the developer on the results as of yet. And the Chumakov Center hasn’t begun studying the effectiveness of the CoviVac vaccine at all. 

As for the safety of these two vaccines, the developers appear to have some preliminary data obtained from very small groups of volunteers. But even these results have yet to be published in scientific journals.

So far, there is only published efficacy and safety data for Sputnik V.

Moreover, what Peskov meant by “reliability” remains unclear — perhaps he was referring to the duration of vaccine immunity, but we don’t know for sure. Despite the numerous statements from Alexander Gintsburg (the director of the Gamaleya Research Institute, which developed Sputnik V) and the other vaccine developers, the duration of immunity derived from anti-coronavirus vaccines has yet to be determined. Including for Sputnik V. 


Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac)

EpiVacCorona

CoviVac

Efficacy studies underway

✔️

✔️

Data on safety published in a scientific journal

✔️

Data on efficacy published in a scientific journal

✔️

All vaccine research completed

Vaccine registered by the Russian Health Ministry

✔️

✔️

✔️


3

Did Peskov offer some hint about which vaccine Putin received?

No. “This was the first [jab], accordingly, the second one is in three weeks,” the Kremlin spokesman said when asked if Putin will be getting a second vaccine dose. Twitter users immediately presumed that Peskov was referring to Sputnik V, because this two-dose vaccine has a 21-day waiting period between injections.

However, the problem with this assumption is that EpiVacCorona also requires two injections (albeit of the same drug), which are administered at an “interval of at least 14 to 21 days,” according to its instructions. So we can’t rule out the possibility that Putin got the EpiVacCorona vaccine. Although this would be a rather strange choice, given that there’s a lot more scientific data on Sputnik V than about this vaccine.

In addition, we can say that the CoviVac vaccine doesn’t fit the description — this drug has a two-week interval between injections. 

Text by Alexander Ershov

Translation by Eilish Hart

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