The World Health Organization’s Europe office says it has begun discussions with Russia to try to get more information about the coronavirus vaccine that Russia approved last week before the shot had passed the advanced trials normally required to prove it works.
Catherine Smallwood, a senior emergency official at WHO Europe, said “this concern that we have around safety and efficacy is not specifically for the Russia vaccine, it’s for all of the vaccines under development.”
She acknowledged WHO was taking an “accelerated approach” to try to speed development of coronavirus vaccines but said “it’s essential we don’t cut corners in safety or efficacy.”
The speed at which Russia is moving to roll out its vaccine highlights its determination to win the global race for an effective product but has stirred concerns that it may be putting national prestige before sound science and safety.
Smallwood said WHO has begun “direct discussions” with Russia and that WHO officials have been sharing “the various steps and information that’s going to be required for WHO to take assessments.”