Russia hopes WHO approves Sputnik vaccine

MOSCOW (AP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed hope Sunday that the World Health Organization will soon approve its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine.

In a teleconference with Francesco Rocca, president of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, Putin said that approval by the WHO is essential to be able to share the Russian vaccine with the rest of the world.

“We plan to expand that type of assistance,” said the Russian ruler.

He added that WHO approval will pave the way for Russian citizens and others who have received Sputnik V to travel the world. He indicated that some 200 million people around the world have received Sputnik V.

Putin received the Sputnik V vaccine this spring and last month he received the Sputnik Light booster. He also received an experimental nasal version of Sputnik V shortly after receiving the booster. Putin says he felt no ill effects.

The Gamaleyal Institute, the Russian entity that developed Sputnik, stated that this vaccine must be effective against the omicron variant, but that it will still start working to adapt it to this new mutation.

Russia was the first country in the world to develop a coronavirus vaccine by launching Sputnik V in August 2020, and it has abundant vaccines. But the population has been slow to receive it, partly due to mixed signals from the Russian authorities.

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