The West says Russia’s covid vaccine is rubbish, but Asia isn’t convinced

Residents of Moscow are being asked to volunteer for trials of a covid-19 vaccine that has already been given the stamp of approval by the Russian government. I’m no scientist, but the chronology here seems a bit askew.

The request for volunteers came from Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, who said the vaccine is now undergoing “post-registration research.”

“We all were eager to see the creation of a vaccine, and now we have it,” Sobyanin said, according to the Associated Press. “Now, Moscow residents have a unique chance to become the main participants in clinical research that will help defeat the coronavirus.”

There was plenty of skepticism when Russia announced it had an effective coronavirus vaccine earlier this month. Some of that skepticism was expressed within Russia itself. For instance, the country’s Association of Clinical Trials Organizations characterised the vaccine as dangerous, saying:

“Fast-tracked approval will not make Russia the leader in the race, it will just expose consumers of the vaccine to unnecessary danger.”

On the other hand, President Putin said the vaccine has been “proven” to work.

“I know it has proven efficient and forms a stable immunity,” he stated at the time. “We must be grateful to those who made that first step very important for our country and the entire world.”

Western countries like the US and UK—who seem to be operating under the belief that the Cold War never ended—are naturally dismissive of Vlad’s remarks. But that doesn’t necessarily reflect global opinion.

AP reports that according to the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which financed the vaccine’s development, five countries are set to participate in Russia’s post-approval trials. Moreover, the US government’s official propaganda outlet Voice of America reports that a number of countries are lining up to buy the Russian vaccine.

These include Vietnam, South Korea, Indonesia, India and the Philippines.

In remarks delivered via Vietnam’s VTV station, Dr. Tran Dac Phu, associate professor at the Vietnam Ministry of Health’s Public Health Emergency Operations Center, expressed optimism about the vaccine’s potential.

“A vaccine that has been used in a foreign country may not require any more tests when it’s imported to Vietnam,” he said. “However, its trials must still be applied on humans to test its safety and effectiveness.”