Press-Telegram (Long Beach)

Moscow scores points with vaccine diplomacy; snags arise


MOSCOW » Russia’s boast in August that it was the first country to authorize a coronaviru­s vaccine led to skepticism at the time because of its insufficie­nt testing. Six months later, as demand for the Sputnik V vaccine grows, experts are raising questions again — this time, over whether Moscow can keep up with all the orders from the countries that want it.

Slovakia got 200,000 doses on March 1, even though the European Medicines Agency, the European Union’s pharmaceut­ical regulator, only began reviewing its use on Thursday in an expedited process. Millions of doses are expected by countries in Latin America, Africa, the former Soviet Union and the Middle East in a wave of Russian vaccine diplomacy.

The early criticism of Sputnik V has been blunted by a report in the prestigiou­s British medical journal The Lancet that said large-scale testing showed it to be safe, with an efficacy rate of 91% against the virus.

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