The Russian Permanent Mission to the EU has taken note of the remarks regarding Russian “Sputnik V” COVID-19 vaccine made by the President of the European Commission, Mrs. Ursula von der Leyen at the press conference held in Brussels on 17 February 2021. We are perplexed to hear assessments by the head of the EU executive, widely circulated in the media, that “Russia is offering millions of millions of doses while not sufficiently progressing in vaccinating their own people”, as it is either an effort to politicise the issue in an unsubstantiated and, indeed, deplorable way, or indicates an inadequate level of awareness of the top-level official.
Representatives of the Russian authorities, scientific community and business entities, including the Russian Direct Investment Fund, engaged in promoting the vaccine on the global market, have repeatedly publicly stressed that vaccination of its own citizens constitutes an absolute priority for Russia in its fight against COVID-19. In full compliance with the principles of democracy and humanitarian law, inoculation in Russia is voluntary, and to date, all interested citizens are provided with the vaccine without delay and free of charge. An extensive network of vaccination centres has been set up and is constantly being improved, including employing modern digitalisation tools.
As for the prospects of supplying “Sputnik V” to other countries, the vaccine availability for the Russian population is in no way linked to this process. The principle of cooperation in combating the common threat, which Russia offers to all members of the international community without exception, regardless of political and economic considerations, is based on the following.
Our country is ready to provide any state with full information on the invention of Russian scientists, as well as trial batches of “Sputnik V”, so that interested partners could conduct a full and independent analysis both of its pharmacological characteristics and of other economic and logistical factors. In particular, it is worth recalling that with comparable efficacy – over 90% – and maximum safety, as confirmed by the publication of interim results from the vaccine clinical trials in the “Lancet” authoritative medical journal, “Sputnik V” is significantly outperforming existing alternatives in terms of price and logistical accessibility.
The “Sputnik V” vaccine has already been registered in 29 countries, and the EU could facilitate the launch of vaccine production, including for external markets, at the enterprises of EU member states, which would contribute to creation of new jobs, as well as development of bilateral partnership in the fight against the pandemic and saving our citizens’ lives.
We presume that production and distribution of vaccines should be beyond politics, so we hope that the EU will evaluate the Russian vaccine on the basis of scientific and humanitarian, rather than political considerations.