DISINFO: WHO said Russian vaccine against coronavirus is safe and efficient
  • Outlet: ntv.ru (archived)*
  • Date of publication: September 21, 2020
  • Outlet language(s): Russian
  • Reported in: Issue 212
  • Countries / regions discussed: Russia
coronavirus vaccination WHO

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


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.”


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.


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