Reality bites for Putin’s much-hyped Covid-19 vaccine, as concerns over efficacy and safety linger

Reality bites for Putin’s much-hyped Covid-19 vaccine, as concerns over efficacy and safety linger

In August, Russian state media rolled out the red carpet for a bombshell announcement — President Vladimir Putin, from his residence outside Moscow, unveiled what he said was the world’s first registered coronavirus vaccine, meant to bring Russia closer to the end of a devastating pandemic.

Putin, who is famously secretive about his family, said one of his daughters had already been inoculated as part of the early-stage trials and felt “well,” to bulk up the vaccine’s safety claims.

Now, as the second wave of Covid-19 hits the country — with record numbers of new infections and deaths — the vaccine, named Sputnik V, is far from being widely available to the general public.

Russia has passed a grim milestone of 1.5 million cases and at least 26,269 deaths, although experts have previously cast doubts on Russia’s counting methods.