By Milo Mandelli-Valla
New York City, New York
In the time of COVID-19, people are looking for ways to return to the days when they did not need to social distance or wear masks. The easiest way out of this pandemic is, of course, a COVID-19 vaccine. Countries all over the world are funding COVID-19 vaccine research, testing and production, but President Vladimir Putin of Russia has declared he has a functional vaccine. It is called “Sputnik-V,” and he claims he gave it to his daughter. There are many skeptics of the vaccine—in Russia and around the world. Frontline workers, such as teachers—who were forced to go back to school as the pandemic took a major toll on Russia—refuse to take the vaccine.
Uchitel, Russia’s main teachers’ union, created a petition against making the vaccine mandatory due to safety concerns. The union wants the vaccine to undergo a series of clinical trials to test its quality and safety.
According to CNN, pollsters in Russia observed that about half of the Russian population has concerns about the vaccine. Sergey Sobyanin, the mayor of Moscow, said that two months ago, 90% of Russians were concerned about the vaccine.
Sobyanin said that he took the vaccine when phases one and two of the trials had been completed. Skeptics remain, though, and there is doubt surrounding the legitimacy of the trials. Putin’s regime is widely recognized to be lacking in government transparency. Phase three trials are the ones that will determine the safety of the vaccine and whether it has serious side effects. Phase three trials are required for all vaccines in the United States.
Putin announced on October 14 that Russia had found a second vaccine for COVID-19. The vaccine was developed by a Siberian biotech company, Novosibirsk's Vektor, a former Soviet bioweapons lab. This vaccine has yet to be tested on a large scale, and it is further behind in testing than Sputnik-V. The largest testing done with the vaccine was with a trial of 100 people, and Putin claims that round of testing was successful.