“Dishonest competition”: Putin attacks the G20 over vaccines | Coronavirus pandemic News

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Russia complained about the lack of international recognition for its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine at a G20 summit, where leaders agreed to step up global vaccination efforts.

Apparently referring to Russian Sputnik V’s failure to gain foreign regulatory approval, President Vladimir Putin on Saturday urged G20 health ministers to discuss mutual recognition of vaccines and vaccination certificates “as soon as possible “.

“Despite the G20 decisions, not all countries in need can have access to COVID vaccines,” Putin said in video message comments to his counterparts which were broadcast on Russian state television.

“This is mainly happening because of dishonest competition, protectionism and because some states, especially those in the G20, are not ready for mutual recognition of vaccines and vaccination certificates,” he added.

Earlier this month, South Africa refused to approve the Russian vaccine despite the country’s urgent need for vaccines, saying it could increase the risk of HIV infection in men.

Sputnik V also does not have regulatory approval in the European Union and the United States.

Chinese President Xi Jinping – who like Putin did not travel to Rome for the G20 summit and participated by video link – made a similar call for mutual recognition of vaccines, according to Chinese state media .

Rising cases

Putin and Xi have reportedly avoided traveling to Italy due to the tightening of coronavirus restrictions in their home country.

In Russia, where new cases are increasing despite the availability of the Sputnik V jab, Putin has ordered a week-long paid leave from Saturday to contain the spread of the virus.

Russian authorities said the number of daily infections had risen to 40,251, a record for the country since the start of the pandemic, with just 32.5% of the population fully vaccinated.

The Russian Health Ministry will recommend using the Sputnik Light COVID-19 vaccine only as a booster for people who have already been vaccinated, the health minister said according to Russian news agencies.

Russia previously promoted Sputnik Light, which includes the first injection of its two-shot flagship Sputnik V as an effective stand-alone vaccine, as well as a booster that can be combined with non-Russian vaccines.

“As the Delta variant progresses, there will certainly be changes today in the methodological recommendations on vaccinations where it will be. [say]: only use ‘Sputnik Light’ for revaccination, ”Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said, quoted by the TASS news agency.

“We find that better immunity is formed after a two-stage vaccination, and this is of crucial importance for preserving health,” said the Interfax news agency quoting Murashko.

Meanwhile, at the G20 summit host and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said the international community is “very close to meeting WHO’s target of immunizing 40% of the world’s population by the end of 2021 “.

“Now we have to do everything we can to reach 70% by mid-2022,” he added.

According to a source following the summit discussions, “all the leaders” agreed to commit to the goal set by Draghi.

The Italian prime minister noted that while more than 70% of people in developed countries have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, the percentage drops to around 3% in the poorest regions of the world.

“These differences are morally unacceptable and undermine the global recovery,” he said.

The two-day Rome summit of G20 leaders – their first face-to-face meeting since the global coronavirus pandemic – also put climate change and threats to the global economic recovery on the agenda.

Their meeting was preceded on Friday by discussions by G20 finance and health ministers, in which they also spoke of the urgency of meeting the 70 percent immunization target by mid-September. next year.

To achieve the goal, they pledged to “take measures to help increase the supply of vaccines and essential medical products and inputs to developing countries and to remove relevant supply and funding constraints.”

A healthcare worker gives a dose of Russian Sputnik V to a patient at a vaccination center in Moscow [Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP]

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