DISINFO: The West is critical of the Sputnik V vaccine for political and ideological reasons
  • Outlet: bgr.news-front.info (archived)*
  • Date of publication: November 29, 2021
  • Article language(s): Bulgarian
  • Reported in: Issue 267
  • Countries / regions discussed: EU, Europe, Russia
Sputnik V vaccination coronavirus

DISINFO: The West is critical of the Sputnik V vaccine for political and ideological reasons


The hypocrisy of Western Europe is evident in its stance on the Sputnik V vaccine. Politicians from Western Europe acknowledge the high effectiveness of the Russian vaccine in private, but criticise it in public space for political and ideological reasons.


A recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about a conspiracy by the West to prevent the success of the Sputnik V vaccine for political reasons. In general, the notion that Western states are discrediting Sputnik V due to their anti-Russian sentiments is a recurrent disinformation narrative used by the Kremlin in its politicization of COVID-19 vaccines.

EMA started a rolling review of the Sputnik V vaccine on 4 March 2021 by application of R-Pharm Germany GmbH. Concerns were initially expressed, including by Russian scientists, regarding Sputnik V’s hasty approval in Russia before phase III clinical trials had begun and before publishing the results from phases I and II. Prior to travelling to Russian production facilities as part of the rolling review in March 2021, the head of the EMA commented that it was her hope that Sputnik V would receive approval and that the agency is “committed to applying the same standards and scrutiny to this review as to any other scientific assessments”. At the beginning of September 2021, EMA stated it was still waiting for necessary additional data from Sputnik V's manufacturers before it can authorise the vaccine.

For its part, WHO confirmed on 13 October 2021 that the approval for the use of Sputnik V was still on hold pending some missing data and legal procedures. Previously, a WHO visit to a factory in Ufa had led to the suspension of the approval of the Sputnik V after the mission identified several problems in the manufacture of the vaccine. On 20 October 2021, the WHO stated it has restarted the assessment process for the Russian vaccine and that it is awaiting the “completion of the rolling submission.”

As explained by Markus Ederer, EU ambassador to Russia, “the WHO has publicly voiced a number of identified problems and suspended the vaccine recognition procedure” and “the Russian side has repeatedly postponed the timing of the inspection requested by the EMA, which slows down the process”. Thus, the reasons for the lack of recognition of Sputnik V are technical in nature, not political or ideological.

Read similar disinformation cases in the database alleging that recognition of Sputnik V is being delayed purely for political reasons, that Western pretexts not to approve Sputnik V are false, that the WHO has double standards in relation to Covid-19 vaccines, or that Sputnik V is a target of inaccurate and misleading attacks.


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Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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