Russian “Sputnik V”: vaccination while research is still ongoing

Russian “Sputnik V”: vaccination while research is still ongoing

“Sputnik V” is injected into test subjects in Russia – and at the same time delivered to coronary vaccination regions. Test subjects in the Moscow polyclinic express several concerns.

Demian von Osten, ARD Studio Moscow

Jelena Melnikowa is sitting in the clinic of the Moscow Polyclinic 121. Measure the fever and blood pressure, look in the throat – Dr. Maria Jewjukova is satisfied. “In the beginning, we do an investigation,” he explains. “We also ask about the overall well-being, whether the patient has had a cold since the first test we did. Then we’ll look around to see if there are any changes. We will then check the test results. ”Because vaccinations can only be given to those who have not yet been infected with coronavirus, they are neither hepatitis nor HIV positive. Pregnant women, children and the elderly are not eligible as test subjects.

Everything is fine with Melnikova. The 41-year-old volunteer signed up as a test person through the online portal of the Moscow city administration – together with her husband, who is already waiting at the door for her appointment. He thinks it’s important to help develop a Russian vaccine: “Now we’re going through this vaccine experiment, then it can go fully into production, so people don’t have to be afraid to get vaccinated,” he says.

Six months of observation

In the next room, a medical assistant picked up a vial of vaccine from a heavy refrigerator. Thaw for ten minutes, then the vaccine is injected into the subject’s right arm. She feels “great”, says Mělníková after the injection.

Over the next six months, he will have to keep an accurate record of whether this will remain the case: Download an application that requires daily health information, and will also receive a fitness bracelet that measures her heart rate. Patients remain under the close supervision of doctors for a long time. “Last Wednesday we vaccinated the first patient. Since then, we have not seen any side effects, no side effects. All patients feel good,” says chief physician Andrei Tjaschelnikow. After 14 days, all subjects must receive a second vaccination.

International critique of early adoption

After Russia became the first country in the world to virtually approve the “Sputnik V” vaccine from the Gamaleya Institute, there was international criticism. Because the usual third phase of vaccine development had not yet begun at that time and information on the vaccine had not yet been published. Russian scientists have now published an article in the medical journal “The Lancet”. However, the graphics published in it are insufficient for international scientists.

Vaccine doses are already available in Russian regions. They should be given to doctors and teachers in particular. But not everyone is excited: In the August survey, more than half of the doctors said they would not want to be vaccinated yet. There are 26 vaccine variants in clinical trials worldwide.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the registration of the first vaccine on television on August 11. An edge over other countries could be a prestige for him: The state fund, which co-finances the production of the vaccine, has already signed agreements with Kazakhstan, Brazil and Mexico, and India is also supposed to gain it. Putin said in August that his daughter had been vaccinated. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu were also vaccinated. Examples that Russians seem to like.

“Whoever is first doesn’t matter”

Sergei Koschewnikow is also a test person at the Moscow Polyclinic 121. The former soldier, in his 50s, saw Shoigu’s vaccination – and registered immediately. “It doesn’t matter who is first, whether Russia, the USA or another country,” says Koschevnikov. “If an American or Western vaccine came and the same testing phase was performed here, I would participate.”

40,000 test subjects are needed; according to official information, more than 55,000 volunteers registered in Moscow alone. In addition to Polyclinic 121, there are several vaccinating places in Moscow. “Today, about 100 people come for examinations a day and about 30 to 50 for vaccinations,” says Chief Physician Tjaschelnikow. “I hope that the number of people who come for vaccinations will gradually increase.”

There is still no talk of mass vaccination

Patient Anna, who does not state her surname, experiences a surprise when she is appointed. “We have a small problem,” says the chief physician. Because antibodies to coronavirus were found in her blood during a preliminary examination. “I’m surprised, shocked,” says the young woman. She was not sick, she had the most cold. It must not be vaccinated with antibodies against the virus.

Russia is still a long way from mass vaccination. Currently, more people test positive for a new corona virus every day – authorities are already expecting a difficult fall. And I trust that the tests with the new vaccine will be positive and that it will soon be possible to produce the product in large numbers.

Mark James

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