Facebook Pixel

Ambitions versus common sense: what is known about the Russian vaccine against COVID-19, and why it will never be used in Ukraine


What is known about the coronavirus vaccine from the Russian Federation. Photo: Pixabay

What is known about the coronavirus vaccine from the Russian Federation. Photo: Pixabay

The Page continues the cycle of articles on the features of vaccines against the coronavirus COVID-19. We have already written about AstraZeneca, Covishield, Pfizer/BioNTech, and Moderna.

In August 2020, Russia announced that it was the first in the world to register the Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus. Let us recall that Ukraine will not register it on its territory and use it to vaccinate citizens.

We have collected information on how effective this medication can be, what side effects it has, and why Sputnik will never be used in Ukraine.


Vaccine efficacy

There is controversy over the efficacy of the Sputnik V vaccine (the official name of the vaccine is Gam-COVID-Vac). The manufacturer itself on the official website of the "first registered vaccine against coronavirus" reports an efficacy of 91.6%. According to the report, the efficacy is estimated on the basis of data on 19,866 volunteers who got both the first and second injection of the Sputnik V vaccine or placebo—at the final control stage, 78 confirmed cases of COVID-19 were recorded.

The vaccine efficacy was even praised by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who reported that his daughter was among the group of volunteers who tested the medication.

"One of my daughters got this injection. In this sense, she took part in the experiment. After the first vaccination, her temperature was 38, the next day—37 with a little, and that's it. I know that some people have no manifestations at all—no temperature, nothing, as if nothing had happened," he said.

In a professional environment, these results naturally raised many questions. But on February 2, 2021, the truly authoritative scientific journal The Lancet published the results of the third phase of Sputnik clinical trials. They showed the vaccine efficacy at around 92%. None of the study participants who received a real vaccine and not a placebo developed a severe coronavirus. At the same time, the vaccine showed to be effective in people aged 60 and over.

Scientists interviewed by Reuters said that Russia's use of the Sputnik-V coronavirus vaccine that has not yet been fully tested, could lead to a COVID-19 mutation. Incomplete vaccine protection can cause the virus to evade the antibody, creating strains that will then evade all vaccine reactions.

"A bad vaccine is worse than not having one," said Ian Jones, professor of virology at the University of Reading in Britain.



The vaccine has not been tested on minors, pregnant women, or nursing mothers. Because how it affects these groups of people is unknown.

According to Aleksandr Karaulov, academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, head of the Department of Clinical Immunology and Allergology at Sechenov University, the vaccine should not be administered to people from small groups with primary immunodeficiencies. This is a group of over 100 rare diseases. They are all related to birth defects that affect the functioning of the immune system. Because of this, a person is more susceptible to infections than those who do not suffer from these diseases.

Also Sputnik V is contraindicated in people with serious chronic autoimmune diseases.


Sputnik V: side effects

Main side effects:

  • temperature rise up to 38 degrees;
  • headache;
  • muscle aches;
  • redness at the injection site.

Side effects are observed in about 15% of those vaccinated, Kommersant quotes the head of the Gamaleya Center Alexander Gintzburg.


Why Sputnik will not be used in Ukraine

Earlier, President Volodymyr Zelensky reported that there is no information that this medication is effective, and "the citizens of Ukraine are not rabbits to experiment on."

The same thesis was voiced by the Minister of Health Maksym Stepanov. According to him, the efficacy and safety of Russian developments has not been proven, and the vaccine has not yet passed a large-scale test.

"Ukraine will use only those vaccines against COVID-19 that have successfully passed the third phase of clinical trials. Therefore, all the rumors and political statements about the state registration of the Russian vaccine candidate in Ukraine do not correspond to reality," he wrote on his Facebook page.

The political factor is no less important. With the help of the vaccine, the Russian Federation will be able to influence other countries, and the option of being dependent on Russia was not considered by Ukraine.

On the Cabinet of Ministers website on February 10, a government decree adopted on February 8 was published. It is related to the registration of vaccines against coronavirus for their emergency use.

In this document, the government introduced a ban on the registration of Russian vaccines. "The registration of vaccines or other medical immunobiological medications for the specific prevention of acute respiratory disease COVID-19 caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, under the obligation for emergency medical use, the development or production of which was carried out in a state recognized by the Verkhovna Rada as an aggressor state, is prohibited", the decree says.


Sputnik V price

The cost of the Sputnik V vaccine for international markets from February 2021 will be less than $10 per dose. It is planned to make the vaccine "the cheapest and most available."


"First and foremost, people value reliability in an employer", — Olena Urusova, HRD at Credit Agricole Lifestyle

"First and foremost, people value reliability in an employer", — Olena Urusova, HRD at Credit Agricole

Understanding currency controls during martial law for investments or business in Ukraine Opinions

Understanding currency controls during martial law for investments or business in Ukraine