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4 Jan, 2021 17:49

Head of Ukrainian doctors’ group accuses government of ‘lying’ over refusal to register Russian Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine

Head of Ukrainian doctors’ group accuses government of ‘lying’ over refusal to register Russian Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine

A row in Kiev over the government’s decision not to register a Russian-made coronavirus jab has worsened, with one of the country’s most senior doctors saying officials are not being straight about the reasons behind the move.

Sergey Kravchenko, the head of the National Medical Chamber of Ukraine, a public organization representing doctors, rubbished claims that Kiev could approve vaccines only once they had completed phase-three trials. Writing on Facebook on Sunday, he said it was “a lie [from health officials] that it is impossible to register the Sputnik V vaccine.”

The World Health Organization, he said, had “recommended that all countries switch to emergency vaccine registration due to the global pandemic, as the complete process for clinical research otherwise takes three to five years.” He also noted that eight vaccines were being made available across the globe, none of which have completed phase-three trials in full.

Also on rt.com Needling each other: Ukrainian politicians face off over rejection of Russian-made Sputnik V as country’s Covid-19 crisis worsens

Over the weekend, after a request from a local firm that had hoped to manufacture the formula for distribution in Kharkov, Chief Sanitary Doctor Viktor Lyashko rejected suggestions the country would consider registering Sputnik V. In a message on his official Facebook page, he wrote these “rumors … do not correspond to reality” because “Ukraine will use only those vaccines against Covid-19 that successfully pass the third phase of clinical research trials.”

Politicians have since weighed in on the debate, with the leader of the largest opposition group in the Ukrainian parliament, Viktor Medvedchuk, writing on his website that the decision was a “misunderstanding of medicine” and had “nothing to do with health, nor with the interests of Ukrainian citizens.”

Also on rt.com Ukrainian pharma company applies to produce Sputnik V jab after emotional FM dubs Russian Covid vaccine 'weapon of hybrid war'

Medvedchuk also took issue with the idea that phase-three trials would have to be completed before an inoculation could be made available, insisting that “none of the vaccines have passed the third phase of clinical trials – not for Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca.” He added that he would “like to see a specialist explain this to Mr. Lyashko and he, in turn, can convey these facts to President [Volodymyr] Zelensky.”

According to the US National Library of Medicine, which maintains a database of all trials in the country, Moderna’s formula is due to complete its study in 2022, with Pfizer and AstraZeneca finishing Phase III tests in 2023.

Kiev announced in December that it would soon receive a shipment of 8 million doses of a vaccine through the COVAX international access initiative. It is currently unclear which formula might be supplied, but, as those responding to Lyashko have pointed out, not one company’s products have yet reached the standards Kiev is insisting upon.

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