“The president cannot use unjustified vaccinations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a conversation with reporters. Peschov did not explain the difference between “certifying” and “approving” a vaccination, but said, “Mass vaccination has not yet begun. And, of course, the head of state cannot volunteer for the vaccination. It’s impossible.”
Peschov said talks should end soon, and Putin will inform people of his decision to inject the vaccine “if he deems it necessary.”
The news that Putin had not yet taken the vaccine came on the same day that the developers of Sputnik V released new information about the vaccine, considering it effective, inexpensive and easy to transport.
The Gamaelya Institute, which developed the vaccine, and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which funded it, released further interim data on the vaccine on Tuesday. A press release said that analysis of data obtained 28 days after the first dose and seven days after the second dose suggests that the Sputnik vaccine was 91.4% effective in preventing infections.
According to the publication, the researchers identified 39 confirmed cases of Covid-19 among the volunteers – 31 in the placebo group and eight in the vaccine group. 18,794 volunteers participated in the study.
The Gamaelya Institute and RDIF reported in a separate statement that a single dose of the vaccine costs less than $ 10 in international markets, which they say is “twice or more cheaper than mRNA vaccines with similar efficacy.” The two-dose vaccination and the vaccination will be free for Russian citizens, the statement added. Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are mRNA vaccines.
In a statement on Tuesday, Russia also said the Sputnik vaccine could be stored at 2-8 degrees Celsius, similar to what AstraZeneca said on Monday about the vaccine.
Putin first announced in August that Russia’s vaccine had been approved for public use, even though it had only been tested on dozens of subjects in a blinded study at the time. The announcement preceded the launch of Phase 3 studies, which are key to determining its safety and efficacy, and have raised skepticism on the part of the international community.
“I know it works pretty effectively, it forms a stable immunity,” Putin said at the time, adding that one of his daughters had already taken up the discipline – it’s a rare move from the president, who is known to keep his family secret. He said his temperature was slightly higher after each dose, but added, “you’re feeling well now.”
Putin, 68, belongs to a high-risk group. According to Russia’s new state agency, TASS, vaccination trials began on October 28 in the first group of volunteers aged 60 and older.