Moscow announced a vaccine has been given regulatory approval following less than two months of human trails. Russia’s large conglomerate company, Sistema, has insisted it is the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine despite scientists from across the globe raising concerns.
The vaccine, Sputnik V, has caused international experts to raise alarm bells as it has not yet completed its final trials.
Scientists from across the globe have questioned why the vaccine has been approved before testing is complete.
Russia’s Health Minister Mikhail Murashko rejected the concerns raised by the foreign experts.
He said the scientists who have an issue with Russia’s vaccine are just jealous.
Mr Murashko said: “It seems our foreign colleagues are sensing the specific competitive advantages of the Russian drug and are trying to express opinions that in our opinion are completely groundless.”
Health officials in Australia admitted they know “very little” about Russia’s vaccine and are waiting for more data before making a judgement.
On Wednesday Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Nick Coatsworth, said he was “constantly astonished by the speed and the pace with which the global community is racing towards finding effective vaccines and treatments for COVID.”
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said the vaccine “passed all the needed checks”.
He added how he was so confident with it that even his own daughter has taken an injection of the vaccine.
But Moscow’s vaccine has not yet passed through a phase three trial which is designed to test its efficiency of actually preventing people from getting the coronavirus infection.
Some Russian citizens are too scared to take the vaccine in two weeks’ time when it could be rolled out.
They also fear they will be forced to take the vaccine when it becomes available.
Moscow resident Irina Fashchevskaya opened up about her concerns to Australia’s Associated Press.
She said: “I’m a teacher and they’ll recommend we get it.
“We’ll be forced to do it.”
The Association of Clinical Trials Organisations (ACTO) in Moscow urged the health ministry to postpone the vaccine’s approval until the final trail was completed.
Executive director of ACTO, Svetlana Zavidova voiced her concern in an interview with Reuters.
She said: “It’s the ambition, the desire to be first in a field in which, unfortunately, Russia cannot vie for a top spot.
“Our task is now to warn the population because we so far don’t understand how they (the authorities) are going to carry out mass vaccination.”
But not every country is concerned about Russia’s coronavirus vaccine.
A state in Brazil, Paraná, has reportedly reached a deal with Moscow to supply the vaccine to its citizens.
However, the Brazilian state was worried the deal would not receive approval from the federal government.
Brazil has the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak after the US.
The latest Johns Hopkins University data said there are more than 3.1 million COVID-19 cases in the country and over 103 thousand coronavirus related deaths.