Germany warns Russia's coronavirus vaccine may 'kill' acceptance of others if it goes wrong
- Russia's new coronavirus vaccine is dangerous because it has not been "sufficiently tested," Germany's health minister has warned.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said Russia had approved a vaccine which he insisted was safe, despite the fact it has not yet completed full trial testing.
- Jens Spahn said Russia's move to approve the vaccine was "dangerous'"because it could 'kill acceptance' of the virus if it proved unsafe or ineffective.
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Germany's health minister has warned that Russia's controversial new coronavirus vaccine hasn't been properly tested and could kill the acceptance of vaccinations if it turns out to be unsafe or ineffective.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said his government had given regulatory approval the world's first coronavirus vaccine and hoped to begin mass production soon.
This is despite the fact it had not yet completed its Stage Three trials, which are considered key in demonstrating the safety and efficacy of a vaccine, and which are usually completed before regulatory approval is given to a treatment.
"It can be dangerous to start vaccinating millions, if not billions, of people too early because it could pretty much kill the acceptance of vaccination if it goes wrong, so I'm very sceptical about what's going on in Russia," German health minister Jens Spahn told German radio station Deutschlandfunk on Wednesday, in comments reported by Reuters.
"I would be pleased if we had an initial, good vaccine but based on everything we know - and that's the fundamental problem, namely that the Russians aren't telling us much - this has not been sufficiently tested," he said.
Spahn's remarks echo those of Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious-diseases expert, who on Tuesday said he "seriously doubts" that Moscow had developed a safe and effective vaccine that is ready for use.
He said while the US has a number of vaccines in development, "if we wanted to take the chance of hurting a lot of people or giving them something that doesn't work, we could start doing this, you know, next week if we wanted to. But that's not the way it works."
Putin insisted the vaccine had been fully tested.
"I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and, I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks."
He added that one of his daughters had been inoculated with a shot of the treatment and was feeling well.
But warnings issued by the likes of Fauci and Spahn underscore concerns that Russia has taken shortcuts in order to score points against their geopolitical rivals. The vaccine has even been called "Sputnik V," a nod to the earth satellite that Russia sent into space before the US could launch one.
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