The press service of the Russian Federal Service for Surveillance in Healthcare told TASS on Thursday that the Israel-based clinic Hadassah Medical Moscow is not allowed to use coronavirus vaccines made by foreign companies, including the American company Pfizer. This is because the Pfizer vaccines have not been officially registered in Russia.
On Monday, Pfizer told TASS that the company was considering applying for registration of its COVID-19 vaccine in Russia, since “Pfizer and BioNTech seek to ensure that the vaccine can meet the needs of the world’s public health.”
Back in 2018, Israel’s Hadassah Medical Center reached an agreement with the Mayor of Moscow to open a branch in the Skolkovo Innovation Center, a hi tech business area in the Mozhaysky District in Moscow. The project was estimated at $40.2 million, of which about $26.4 million was used to equip the center. In addition, $3.2 million was allocated to educational activities. An estimated 10% of the income generated by the Moscow Hadassah is directed to research in oncology.
Hadassah Medical Moscow announced earlier that it was in talks with a number of companies from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on the supply of foreign COVID-19 vaccines to Russia. But according to the Russian government’s press service, “In accordance with the current legislation, the import and the use of COVID-19 vaccines which have not been officially registered in Russia is prohibited. The ban also applies to medical organizations operating in the International Medical Cluster.”
“In line with this regulation, unregistered medicines are exported to the EAEU’s territory provided that there is a permission. At the same time, the procedure for issuing such a document on the import of unregistered medicines for the International Medical Cluster’ purposes has not been approved,” the press service said.
On December 11, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and ten days later, the European Medicines Agency approved the vaccine for use in the European Union.
About 10,000 Israelis were given the Pfizer vaccine on Dec. 20, and by Thursday this week 2 million have received their first round of the vaccine.
Russia promotes the use of its homegrown Sputnik V vaccine against the Coronavirus, which was registered on Aug. 11 by the Russian Ministry of Health. Russian sources claim that more than 50 countries have requested the Sputnik V, with supplies for the global market being produced by partner companies in India, Brazil, China, South Korea, and Hungary. The vaccine has been approved despite the fact that its Phase III testing, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center clinical trial involving 40,000 volunteers, is only scheduled to end in May 2021. Phase III clinical studies were also being conducted in Belarus and Venezuela.
Russian journalist Sergey Satanovskiy received the Sputnik V vaccine in Dec. 2020, and reported (Taking a trial shot of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine):
I developed a headache in the evening after leaving work and began to shiver and had a feeling of dizziness. I thought at first that perhaps I was imagining things after reading about all the possible side effects. But then there was no doubt that my body was reacting. My temperature rose to 38.6 degrees. I started aching and not just from my last yoga session. It was unpleasant, but I was glad because it meant that I had received the vaccine and not a placebo. I took some paracetamol, recorded the symptoms in the app and went to bed.
The next day, my temperature had gone down to 37. A day later, I had no more symptoms at all. In three weeks, I’ll be getting the next shot. Apparently, antibodies start forming 42 days after the first injection. However, it remains to be seen whether they will really be able to prevent COVID-19.