Point is to have a safe vaccine, not the first one: US on Russia’s coronavirus vaccine

WION Web Team NEW DELHI Aug 12, 2020, 09.01 AM(IST)

Russian President Putin and coronavirus vaccine Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The health secretary said that transparent data is needed and that this data has to be from phase three trials that show that a vaccine is safe and effective.

Health and Human Services Secretary of the United States Alex Azar on Wednesday reacted to the announcement from Russia that it has approved a ‘world first’ Covid-19 vaccine.

Also read | No known data on quality, safety of Russian vaccine: German health ministry

“The point is not to be first with the vaccine,” Azar said on a TV programme. “The point is to have a vaccine that is safe and effective for the American people and the people of the world.” 

Also Read: Russia has developed world's 'first' coronavirus vaccine, says Putin

The health secretary said that transparent data is needed and that this data has to be from phase three trials that show that a vaccine is safe and effective.

Germany's health ministry has also said that "there is no known data on the quality, efficacy and safety of the Russian vaccine."

After the announcement, Jarbas Barbosa, assistant director of WHO's regional branch, the Pan American Health Organization said that it had not received enough information on the Russian vaccine to evaluate it.

"Any vaccine producer has to follow this procedure that guarantees it is safe and has the WHO's recommendation," Jarbas Barbosa said even as WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said that "close contact with Russian health authorities and discussions are ongoing".

The WHO spokesman, however, added that prequalification of any vaccine includes the rigorous review and assessment of all required safety and efficacy data.

Putin had earlier said that "vaccine has a more specific effect, it forms stable anti-body and cell-mediated immune response" while adding that his own daughters were administered the vaccine.

(With inputs from agencies)