ALMA-ATA (Reuters) – Kazakhstan has signed an agreement with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) to supply a potential COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, after passing all tests, the country's government said Wednesday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in early August that Russia was the first in the world to register a vaccine against coronavirus. Putin said one of his two daughters had already been vaccinated.
“The agreement provides for the supply of more than 2 million doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine to Kazakhstan. In the future, together with our partners, we will consider the possibility of increasing the volume of vaccine supplies to 5 million doses,” the press service of the RDIF quotes the fund's general director Kirill Dmitriev.
The Government of Kazakhstan announced that immunization for Kazakhstanis at risk will be carried out on a free and voluntary basis and is possible only after the vaccine has passed all stages of clinical trials.
“It is planned that a batch of vaccines for delivery to Kazakhstan will be produced by one of the international partners of RDIF,” the Russian fund said in a statement.
The announcement of the development of a Russian vaccine has raised alarm among global health experts. They say that Russia has yet to conduct large-scale tests that would provide data on its effectiveness and safety.
However, the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation called these doubts unfounded, and the head of the RDIF, Kirill Dmitriev, said that Russia had received applications from 20 countries to purchase more than one billion doses of the Russian vaccine. In addition to Kazakhstan, interest in the vaccine or the intention to purchase it was reported by Vietnam, the Philippines and the Brazilian state of Parana.
It is expected that deliveries of “Sputnik V” to foreign markets may begin in November-December 2020.
Kazakhstan, which to date has recorded more than 105,000 cases of coronavirus infection and 1,523 deaths related to it, lifted quarantine in the country and eased restrictions in mid-August.
(Maria Gordeeva. Editor Gleb Stolyarov)