Disinfo: WHO said Russian vaccine against coronavirus is safe and efficient

Summary

WHO declares Russian coronavirus vaccine safe and efficient. The World Health Organization (WHO) has thanked Russia for developing a vaccine against coronavirus. Hans Kluge, Regional Director for Europe at the WHO, said after negotiations with the head of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation Mikhail Murashko: “WHO highly appreciates the efforts of the Russian Federation in the development of a vaccine against coronavirus, namely Sputnik V. I would like to thank the Minister [of Health of Russia] for those steps to develop the vaccine, it is safe and effective.”

Disproof

The statement is untrue. Pro-Kremlin disinformation outlet NTV attributes the quote to the Regional Director for Europe at the WHO, Hans Kluge, saying that he finds the Russian Covid-19 vaccine "safe and efficient". No recorded clip of Has Kluge is included in the report from 21 September, only an interpretation of his words is provided. During the news conference on 20 August Hans Kluge said (time codes: 44:11-45:08):

"Any advances in a vaccine development is a very encouraging news. The Russian Federation has a long tradition of vaccine development and uptake if we think on yellow fever vaccine or poly vaccine domestic lib. So it’s a very welcome news. But every vaccine has to go the same rigorous standards of efficacy and safety and ultimately it is only one known way to do it is clinical trials: phase 1, phase 2 and phase 3, including phase 3, which speaks about much larger audience to which the vaccine is really administered to see whether it is safe. And WHO is being indeed invited to review thoroughly the date."

On September 23 TASS agency reported that WHO "plans to support the promotion of Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V". To date, no news on that was communicated by WHO itself beyond the already announced ongoing data analysis. In general, there are widespread concerns that the approval of the Russian vaccine against coronavirus is premature. At the time of approval, the vaccine had not even started phase 3 trials, reminds the Lancet. See more narratives that Russia combats coronavirus more effectively than the democracies, such as Trying to catch up with Russia, the West lost another round in the fight against pandemic; There is no approved COVID-19 vaccine except the Russian one, says Reuters.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 212
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 21/09/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia
  • Keywords: coronavirus, vaccination, WHO
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Russia’s Avangard missile system can devastate US defences, The National Interest says

Russia’s Avangard missile system can devastate US defences, The National Interest says. This US magazine, specialised in security, published a text by publicist Peter Suciu about what the creation of the Russian hypersonic unit Avangard means for the US. The author of the publication mentions that Avangard has hypersonic speed and is able to maneuver in the atmosphere. It quotes China’s official stance, that the Avangard equipped with nuclear heads can “devastate” US defences.

Disproof

This is a deliberate distortion of the original article in The National Interest, titled “Is the Russian Avangard Hypersonic ICBM a Serious Threat?”, where author Peter Suciu says that it is “reported [for the Avangard] to have both hypersonic speed and an ability to fly a ‘maneuvering’ flight path through the atmosphere”, but, contrary to the claim, he doesn’t affirm it himself. Also, the alleged quote about China’s official stance is also manipulated: it is a reference to a previous article in The Eurasian Times where China praises the capabilities of the missile, but where the description of its “devastating” effects is done by a Russian military official, Major General Vladimir Popov, not by the Chinese authorities. Pro-Kremlin media frequently resort to this manipulative technique of quoting sentences from serious publications and then introducing a distorted message as if it was part of the original article, in this case to promote a recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Russia’s military might. See other examples in our database, such as false claims that British outlet The Guardian pointed to ruling elite as the real instigators of the racial crisis in the US and reported that the EU remained silent as the Europeans couldn’t buy food for the first time in 75 years; that Newsweek magazine explained how the US coup in Iran will end; that Soros’ structures in the media and think tanks saw an opportunity in the coronavirus pandemic to attack the “bad guys”; that the US National Counterintelligence and Security Centre put Wikileaks at the same threat level as jihadist organisations in its last report; or that the US special envoy for Syria admitted that Washington’s goal was to defend terrorists from Russian attacks.

Ugly commercial interests are behind the criticism of the Russian COVID 19 vaccine

There are very ugly commercial interests behind the criticism of the Russian vaccine. This was understandable even before the registration of the vaccine when a number of special services of foreign states accused Russia of allegedly stealing its vaccine. It became clear that this is not the case, because our vaccine is very different from others and much better. But a series of attacks began. Pharmaceutical Association of Western Companies began to declare that the vaccine could not be registered until the end of Phase 3 clinical trials. But now we see that China registered the vaccine before the end of phase 3, the UAE as well as the USA and Britain announced plans to register their vaccines before the end of phase 3.

Disproof

On Aug 11, 2020, Russia declared it is the first country in the world to approve a vaccine against coronavirus. Nonetheless, there are widespread concerns that the approval is premature. At the time of approval, the vaccine had not even started phase 3 trials, nor had any results on the earlier stage trials been published, worlds scientists said on the Lancet. WHO expressed concerns as for preternatural registration of vaccine. Following the criticism, Russia published its response on the Lancet. Then international experts expressed concerns about statistical anomalies revealed during the publication of the results of the first and second phases of clinical trials of the Russian vaccine. Publishing their clarifications, Russia did not address the criticism, in essence, analysed Deutsche Welle. The narrative that any criticism of Russian achievements is due to competition reasons, is a recurrent conspiracy. The statement that democratic countries - US, UK also want to approve their vaccines before the end of clinical trials, as Russia did, is untrue. As for September 20, 2020, the CEO of Moderna, American company developing its own vaccine, mentioned in the disinformation report, expressed no such plans. In August 2020, the American, British and Canadian governments said that Russian hackers are attempting to steal coronavirus vaccine research. At that, no evidence had emerged that data was stolen. There was likely little immediate damage to global public health, cybersecurity experts said.

Antifa are burning their own country

Not only Trump supporters, but also many apolitical Americans are convinced that the forests were set on fire by Antifa militias, sponsored by the Democratic Party. This explains the unprecedented scale of fires this year in the US.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory and recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the US Democratic Party. There is no evidence that Antifa or members of the Democratic Party are deliberately starting forest fires. One of the latest fires in California that has burned more than 7,000 acres (2,800 hectares) was caused by a firework at a “gender-reveal party”, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) has found. In a statement released late on September 9, the department said: “The fire began at 10.23 am on September 5, 2020 in the El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa,” before spreading north. Climate change is also making the situation with the wildfires in the US worse. "Wildfire activity in the United States is changing dangerously, particularly in the west, as conditions become hotter and drier due to climate change," the Union of Concerned Scientists says.