Photo Credit: Agência Brasília
Production of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, January 25, 2021.

The Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor) and Israel’s Health Ministry have reached an agreement in their negotiations in Moscow to create a special working group to counter the coronavirus, TASS reported on Sunday.

Rospotrebnadzor issued a statement on Sunday, saying that “given the large amount of data accumulated in Russia and Israel on countering COVID-19, an agreement has been reached to create a special working group on the new coronavirus infection.”

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Things in Israel are looking a whole lot better on the Corona front than they do in Russia. As of Sunday morning, the rate of positive tests in Israel has stood at 0.81%, with 131 critical patients and 8,154 dead since the breakout of the pandemic in February 2020. Russia has seen 35,896 new cases as on Saturday, with 1,222 new deaths, adding up to 258,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

An Israeli delegation arrived in Moscow recently to discuss cooperation in preventing and controlling infectious diseases, including coronavirus. The parties exchanged relevant data on the epidemiological situation in Russia and Israel and on circulating strains of coronavirus. They also discussed the issues around vaccination against coronavirus. Both sides stressed that only vaccination can stop the pandemic, prevent severe disease, and save lives.

“Contacts with the Israeli side will continue, in order to review restoring air traffic between Russia and Israel, among other things,” Rospotrebnadzor stated. This will require that Israel recognize the efficacy of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine which is yet to be approved by the World Health Organization.

Russia has been pushing its homemade vaccine relentlessly, especially in poor countries that can’t afford the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson&Johnson vaccines. According to TASS, citing the CEO of the FIFA World Cup Qatar organizing committee Nasser Al-Khater, the organizers of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar are debating whether to approve Sputnik V in time for the games.

In October, the Russian Sputnik V and the Chinese Sinovac were added by Qatar to the list of “conditionally approved vaccines.” A conditionally approved vaccine status is kind of a face-saving gesture meaning that individuals who receive two doses of the Russian or Chinese drug, and then, after at least 14 days, one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, would be considered fully vaccinated.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.
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