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Putin warns against politicising COVID-19 vaccine issue

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a summit of leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) via a video conference call in Sochi, Russia. Credit: Reuters

Moscow, November 10: Two Russian vaccines against COVID-19 are “effective” and “safe” and a third one is in the pipeline, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday, as he warned against politicising the coronavirus jab issue.
Addressing the virtual Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting, Putin said Russia supports the idea of giving countries in need access to drugs and necessary goods.
“We have two registered vaccines in Russia, and the trials have already confirmed that the vaccines are safe, there are no side effects, and they are efficient. A third vaccine is in the pipeline,” he said in his address to the Council of the Heads of State of the SCO.
“They are effective, the people who have been vaccinated and who have then had contact with people who have contracted the coronavirus have not contracted the coronavirus themselves, or they only have mild symptoms,” Sputnik News quoted Putin as saying.
In August, Russia became the first country in the world to register a vaccine against the coronavirus, dubbed Sputnik V, and it was developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute. The vaccine is now nearing the end of phase three clinical trials.
However, there are some concerns over the Russian vaccine as experts are skeptic over Russia’s fast-paced approach to developing a vaccine. Scientists have raised concerns over the data in the study.
“We are ready for cooperation … and we propose abstaining from politicisation, being guided by the fact that people across the planet need vaccines today. We are ready to work with any country in the world,” Putin stressed.
The president noted that Russia chaired the SCO at a time when its member states were facing the coronavirus pandemic, which brought about adjustments to the organisation’s agenda, including enhanced interaction between the SCO’s member states in the fields of healthcare and protecting the life and health of citizens.
“Today we are going to adopt a comprehensive plan of our organisation [the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation] on fighting the epidemic, as well as a special statement on the topic of the coronavirus”, Putin said.
Russia has donated about half a million kits for coronavirus diagnostic laboratories as well as devices for non-contact temperature measurement to SCO nations. Russian medical teams have been sent to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, Putin said.
Russia has reported 1,817,109 coronavirus cases so far with 31,161 deaths. (PTI)