In a letter signed by chairman Nikolay Rybakov, the leadership of the liberal Yabloko political faction, called on Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on Thursday to change the rules and allow supplies of foreign formulas to be brought in.
“In order to empower Russian citizens to protect their health and lives, I ask you to make the necessary changes as soon as possible to register and authorize the import and use in the Russian Federation of vaccines against coronavirus infection developed and produced outside Russia,” he wrote in a letter to the government.
The vaccines, he said, should be considered for use in the country if they are “approved by the World Health Organization or registered by the European Medicines Agency.”
Russia currently has four separate formulas on offer as part of its national immunization program. The nation became the first in the world to register a vaccine against Covid-19, when it unveiled its pioneering Sputnik V, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, last summer.
Since then, three other preparations have been approved for use: EpiVacCorona, designed by the Vector Institute in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, and CoviVac, produced by the Chumakov Center at the Russian Academy of Sciences and approved earlier this year. In addition, in recent weeks, the country has approved Sputnik Light, a single-dose version of the original vaccine.
So far, the European Medicines Agency has not given the green light for any of the Russian formulas to be used by the bloc’s members – despite Sputnik V having already been authorized in nearly 70 countries and scientific research consistently having showed it to be both safe and effective. Politicians in Moscow have repeatedly blasted Brussels for the delay to a months-long approvals process, which is allegedly being dragged out for political reasons.
However, Yabloko added on Thursday that unilaterally approving foreign jabs could “also help in resolving the issue of registration of Russian vaccines abroad.” At present, the lack of recognition of the country’s jabs is creating uncertainty over travel plans for millions of people.
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