Russia offers to give free coronavirus vaccine for UN staff across globe

WION Web Team New Delhi Sep 23, 2020, 08.55 AM(IST)

Russian President Vladimir Putin Photograph:( Reuters )

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He made the proposal during his pre-recorded address to United Nations General Assembly. Putin called Russian-developed coronavirus vaccine Sputnik-V 'safe, reliable and effective'

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday offered to provide its coronavirus vaccine free-of-cost to United Nations staff all over the world. He made the proposal during his pre-recorded address to United Nations General Assembly. Putin called Russian-developed coronavirus vaccine Sputnik-V 'safe, reliable and effective'

"Russia is ready to provide the UN with all the necessary qualified assistance, in particular, we are offering to provide our vaccine, free of charge, for the voluntary vaccination of the staff of the UN and its offices. We have received requests from our UN colleagues in this respect, and we will respond to those," said Putin.

Sputnik-V vaccine has been developed by Gamaleya Institute in Russia. The vaccine has cleared Phase-2 trials. It is yet to clear Phase-3.

Although there have been claims from the Russian side that Sputnik-V prompts sufficient antibody response against coronavirus infection, critics remain skeptical about the vaccine. Mass trials of Sputnik-V vaccine have not been carried out but high ranking officials and ministers in the Russian Government have been given doses.

Also Read | COVID-19: Death toll in United States passes 200,000; Trump blames China at UNGA

Putin's own daughter has also been administered the vaccine but which of his two daughters was given the vaccine was a mystery when the news broke.

In his UN speech, Putin said Russia was open to co-operation with respect to Sputnik-V vaccine.

"I would like to reiterate that we are completely open to partner relations and willing to cooperate. In this context, we are proposing to hold an online high-level conference shortly for countries interested in cooperation in the development of anti-coronavirus vaccines," he added

Putin outlined Russia`s active contribution to global and regional counter-COVID-19 efforts, saying the country provided assistance to most affected nations both bilaterally and within multilateral formats. He called on the need to "qualitatively strengthen" the capability of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

"...We first of all take into account the central coordinating role of the WHO, which is part of the UN system. We believe it essential to qualitatively strengthen WHO capability. This work has already begun, and Russia is genuinely motivated to engage in it," the Russian President remarked.

(With agency inputs)