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Vladimir Putin Calls On WHO To 'expedite' New COVID-19 Vaccines' Recognition Process

Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday, November 12, to expedite the recognition of new COVID-19 vaccines.

Vladimir Putin

Image: AP/PTI


Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday, November 12, to expedite the recognition of new COVID-19 vaccines. He claimed that access to doses in developing countries is limited due to unjust compassion, ANI reported. Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, Putin remarked, "The WHO could expedite procedures for the prequalification of new vaccines and drugs, that is, assessing their quality, safety and efficacy."

The Covid pandemic, which began in March 2020, has had a devastating effect upon Russia, which is now facing a virulent fourth wave of the virus. More than 1,000 people die every day in the country, for a total of more than 220,000 deaths. These are record figures for Russia, making it the worst-affected country in Europe, according to several media reports. One of the main reasons for the record number of cases and deaths is a lack of trust in the Sputnik V and other Russian-made coronavirus vaccines among many Russians, according to BBC. Reportedly, this is due, in part, to many years of scepticism about what the authorities say or do. Hence, according to the agency, campaigns to persuade people to get the vaccine are only having a limited impact.

WHO calls Europe 'Epicentre of Pandemic'

According to the AP, top WHO officials stated earlier this month that Europe witnessed more than 50% increase in coronavirus cases in October, making it the 'epicentre of the pandemic' despite an ample supply of vaccines. According to WHO Europe, the region, which stretches as far east as the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, recorded nearly 1.8 million new weekly cases, a 6% increase from the previous week, and 24,000 COVID-19 weekly deaths, a 12% increase, the AP reported. According to the media agency, Dr. Michael Ryan, WHO's emergency chief, had urged vaccine manufacturers to prioritise supplying COVAX, the United Nations-backed effort to share doses globally. 

Pfizer has sold only 1% of its supply to COVAX, and Moderna has provided only 1 million doses to the developing world as of late October. Nonetheless, despite receiving less than 1% of the world's COVID-19 vaccines, cases in Africa and Southeast Asia fell by 9% last week. More than 60 countries have begun administering booster doses to combat waning immunity ahead of the winter COVID-19 outbreak. Children aged 5 to 11 in the United States began receiving COVID-19 shots, earlier this month, after authorities determined that the benefits outweighed the risks.

(With inputs from agencies)

Image: AP/PTI

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