Russia has said that the U.S. is waging “information warfare” about its purported COVID-19 vaccine and has rejected international criticism of its speedy rollout of the inoculation, saying that it’s safe and that it works. Russia announced Tuesday that its vaccine, which Vladimir Putin said had been given to his daughter, had been approved by its health regulators.
The news attracted widespread criticism as it has only undergone rapid Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials on a small number of people and no data from these has yet been published. However Kirill Dmitriev, the chief executive of Russia’s sovereign-wealth fund RDIF, which is backing the vaccine dubbed “Sputnik V” in a nod to the world’s first satellite that was launched by Russia in 1957 during the Cold War space race, told CNBC: “It [the announcement] really divided the world into those countries that think it’s great news… and some of the U.S. media and some U.S. people who actually wage major information warfare on the Russian vaccine.”
He added: “We were not expecting anything else, we are not trying to convince the U.S. Our point to the world is that we have this technology, it can be available in your country in November/December if that works with your regulator… (while) people who are very skeptical will not have this vaccine and we wish them good luck in developing theirs.” He conceded that Russia needed to share the data behind the vaccine, saying it was “valid criticism” that it had not yet done so and that it would “all be published in August.” Russia has the fourth-highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world, with over 900,000 cases as of Wednesday. Its official death toll stands at 15,260.