Russian virus vaccine to cost less than $10 per dose abroad
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia released new results Tuesday claiming its experimental COVID-19 vaccine was highly effective, and promised it would cost less on international markets than vaccines by some of its Western competitors.
According to the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which bankrolled the development of the jab, Sputnik V will cost less than 10$ per dose — or less than $20 for the two doses needed to vaccinate one person — on international markets. The vaccination will be free for Russians, the Fund said.
The two-shot jab, the fund promised in a statement, will be “two or more times cheaper” than those by Pfizer or Moderna, which cost about $20 and $15-25 per dose respectively, based on agreements the companies have struck to supply their vaccines to the U.S. government.
Kirill Dmitriev, head of the fund, told reporters Tuesday that over 1 billion doses of the vaccine are expected to be produced next year outside of Russia.
Russia drew international criticism for giving Sputnik V regulatory approval in early August, even though it was yet to complete advanced testing among tens of thousands of people, required to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine before it is given widely.
An advanced study among 40,000 volunteers was announced two weeks after it received government approval. The trial is still ongoing, but the vaccine is already being offered to people in risk groups — such as medical workers and teachers — despite multiple expert warnings against its wider use before it completes all the necessary testing. Several high-profile officials have said they have already taken it, too.
President Vladimir Putin, who announced Sputnik V’s approval with much fanfare in August, saying one of his daughters had been vaccinated, has touted the...