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5 Nov, 2020 12:42

Israeli hospital chief rejects Western concerns over Russia's Sputnik-V Covid-19 vaccine as ‘political,’ orders 1.5 million doses

Israeli hospital chief rejects Western concerns over Russia's Sputnik-V Covid-19 vaccine as ‘political,’ orders 1.5 million doses

The boss of one of Israel’s largest hospitals has placed a huge order for Russia’s Sputnik-V coronavirus vaccine, arguing that concerns over the formula are due to tensions between Moscow and Washington, rather than safety issues.

Zeev Rotstein, director of Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Centre believes Western objections are more political than scientific, telling Israeli newspaper Haaretz, “it’s like the space race. It’s no wonder the Russians called the vaccine Sputnik 5. They wanted to remind the Americans who reached space first.”

Rotstein said the “results and safety we’ve seen have been very good. There’s a good probability that the vaccine is safe. And there’s a reasonable probability ... that it’s also effective.”

Also on rt.com No Sputnik V for you! EU insists only ‘approved’ Covid vaccines allowed after Orban says Hungary is in talks with Russia & China

Russia drew criticism from some international scientists in August after becoming the first country to approve a vaccine for the virus. That’s despite promising clinical trial results published in The Lancet. Larger late-stage trials are still ongoing in Moscow and are due to conclude next week.

From October, Israel partially eased a national lockdown, one of the strictest in the world, as the number of positive tests fell from 9,000 a day at the peak to 622 in the past 24 hours. Since the start of the pandemic, the country has reported more than 300,000 cases and 2,000 deaths.

READ MORE: As global anti-vax movements gain ground, growing number of Russians worry about taking any form of coronavirus vaccine

Israel joins a growing list of countries that have moved to secure supplies of the new vaccine, with Argentina placing an order for 10 million doses on Monday, and Hungary in talks to follow suit.

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