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5 Jan, 2021 17:55

Ukrainian opposition launches petition asking Zelensky’s government to register & import Russian-made Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik V

Ukrainian opposition launches petition asking Zelensky’s government to register & import Russian-made Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik V

Kiev’s refusal to register the Russian Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik V has turned into a political row, with Ukraine’s opposition launching a petition for those who want the option of having the jab.

In a statement released by Opposition Platform – for Life, the largest non-government party in the country’s parliament, said that the petition would demand access for “Ukrainian citizens to the only coronavirus vaccine that can be made available as soon as possible.”

The head of the outfit’s youth wing, Artem Marchevsky, said that, by holding up access to the vaccine, “the authorities apparently don’t care about people’s lives and health. We are initiating this collection of signatures in order to obtain and produce a vaccine.” He added that the campaign would begin in the east of the country, where Russian speakers are prevalent, and the party’s support is strongest. It is then hoped that signatures can be collected across the whole country.

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

Over the weekend, Ukraine’s chief medical officer, Viktor Lyashko, denied reports that Kiev would soon register Sputnik V, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute. In a message on his official Facebook page, he wrote these “rumours… 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.”

The statement quickly drew criticism from the opposition group’s leader, Viktor Medvedchuk, who wrote that it was both a “misunderstanding of medicine” and had “nothing to do with health, nor with the interests of Ukrainian citizens.”

Medvedchuk rejected the idea that Ukrainians would wait for final trials to be completed before accepting a formula, adding 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.”

The US National Library of Medicine, which publishes a database of all trials in the country, states that Moderna’s formula is due to complete its final phases in 2022, with Pfizer and AstraZeneca due to follow in 2023.

There had been hopes that a Kharkov-based pharmaceutical company would be granted approval to manufacture Sputnik V locally, after filing an application with Ukraine’s Ministry of Health. It was reported that, if granted approval, it would take only three to six months for manufacturing to begin.

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