Philippines approves Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine

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A health worker holds up the Sputnik-V COVID-19 vaccine at the Ariana hospital, in Tunis Tunisia, Saturday, March 13, 2021. Tunisia launched its vaccination campaign on Saturday, after receiving the first 30,000 doses of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccines earlier this week. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)

AFP

MOSCOW: The developer of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine said Friday its shot had been approved for use in the Philippines, becoming the 52nd country to give the green light to the Russian jab.

Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, which backed the development of Sputnik V, said in a statement the jab was registered “under the emergency use authorisation procedure”.

The Philippines announced this week it plans to close its borders to foreigners beginning March 20 and limit entry to its own citizens to halt the spread of new cases.

The temporary measures come after the number of daily cases hit a seven-month high on Monday.

Moscow’s wealth fund, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), said the announcement Friday means that now 52 countries with a combined population of 1.4 billion people have approved Sputnik V for use.

Kirill Dmitriev, RDIF’s CEO, said in the statement that the Philippines was “among the first to show interest in the Sputnik vaccine after it was registered in Russia”.

He added that Sputnik V’s registration provides the Philippines “with access to one of the best vaccines, which is already saving lives around the world”.

Moscow registered the jab in August before large-scale clinical trials, but leading medical journal The Lancet has since said it is safe and over 90% effective.

Some Western countries have been wary of Sputnik V – named after the Soviet-era satellite – over concerns the Kremlin would use it as a soft power tool to advance its interests.