Sputnik V not for approval any time soon -WHO

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Dear Editor,

A few months ago, in my Mark’s Take column, I outlined that persons vaccinated with Sputnik V are being excluded from any of the major countries, including America. Likely, PPP saw what was being communicated as propaganda but most certainly the penny dropped when an article found its way out of America, to social media then to a PPP news outlet. But the PPP news outlet, rather than relaying the facts of the news, inserted disinformation that Sputnik V will receive WHO approval soon. In fact, that’s far from the truth, which underpins my reason for clarifying.

Indeed, based on a Newsweek article titled, “WHO, Russia disagree over status of country’s Sputnik V vaccine,” published on the 10th October and corroborated by multiple news outlet, the Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko posited that the “disagreements” with the World Health Organisation (WHO) have been resolved, regarding Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine status, implying imminent approval. But this conflicts with WHO position that Sputnik V is still under review because of administrative issues among the holdups in the decision-making process, but no approval is near.

Not wanting to live with WHO pouring of cold water on his misplaced optimism, immediately after a meeting on Saturday 2nd October with WHO Director General, the Russian Health Minister, Murashko argued that “all barriers have been removed” for further review of Sputnik V.


WHO then added more ice to Mr. Murashko pronouncements by releasing the freezing statement, “As with other candidate vaccines, WHO continues to assess Sputnik V vaccines from different manufacturing sites and will publish decisions on their EUL status when all the data are available and the review is concluded” Then in phone interview on 5th October, WHO spokeswoman Daniela Bagozzi ensured the temperature of the Russians’ politicising of the process remains below freezing by reiterated that only the WHO’s technical advisory group on emergency use listings, not the WHO Director General, has final say about whether a vaccine obtains emergency approval. And the spokeswoman further decreased the temperatures to shivering levels in pronouncing that, “Once WHO receives the full amount of data that it needs, when production sites have been inspected, and when the data is deemed to meet WHO criteria, the group can schedule a meeting to validate a candidate vaccine for an emergency use listing. No such meeting has been set for Sputnik V.”

Therefore, the conclusion is as clear as Russian Vodka, Sputnik-V application remains at the entrance of WHO office, where clerical staff are perusing the documents to ensure that all the I’s have been dotted and the T’s have been crossed. The substantive work will start when WHO analyses the data, if they are available. But of note, Sputnik V took 8 months to qualify for a clerical review, therefore the question is, how long will it take to earn a meeting with the big boys and girls? Certainly the WHO is of the view, not any time soon!

Dr. Mark Devonish MBBS  MSc Med. Ed

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