WHO Still Reviewing Data On Russia’s Sputnik V Vaccine

File Photo of World Health Assembly at WHO, with Alex M. Azar II at the Podium, adapted from image featured at geneva.usmission.gov

(Article text ©2021 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Oct. 6, 2021 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/sputnik-vaccine-who-approval/31495291.html)

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it is still reviewing data about Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine before approving it for emergency use.

“As with other candidate vaccines, WHO continues to assess Sputnik V vaccines from different manufacturing sites and will publish decisions on their EUL (emergency use listing) status when all the data are available and the review is concluded,” the WHO said in a statement on October 5.

Russia’s Health Minister Mikhail Murashko has said recently that administrative issues were delaying the WHO’s decision-making process.

Russia is pushing for the WHO to provide emergency approval to boost confidence in its domestically developed vaccine that is already being used in dozens of countries.

Approval could also open up the possibility for Sputnik V to be included in the UN and its partners’ COVAX program, which ships COVID-19 vaccines countries around the world.

The vaccines WHO has approved are Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Sinovac, and Sinopharm.

Without WHO recognition, people that have taken the Sputnik V vaccine may be limited in their travel if other countries with entry restrictions don’t recognize the shot.

Once WHO receives all data and inspects production sites, the UN group can schedule a meeting to validate a candidate vaccine for an emergency use listing.

No such meeting has been set for Sputnik V. The next vaccine on the group’s agenda is one from India’s Bharat Biotech, which is expected to be discussed this month.