Many doubt Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine, demand government officials to participate in trial


As the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, a global race to develop a cure has ensued. The winning country could start protecting its people and revive the economy, not to mention the moonshot victory and global status that come with it.

On August 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the nation’s Ministry of Health had approved the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine for widespread use. Developed by the Moscow-based Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, the vaccine has been named Sputnik-V, a reference to the 1957 launch of the world’s first satellite by the Soviet Union.

Scientists, however, question its safety as Russia has not yet completed large-scale trials to test the vaccine’s safety and efficacy. In its registration certificate, Russia’s Ministry of Health stipulates that the vaccine cannot be used widely until January 2021, presumably after larger clinical trials have been conducted.

In a televised speech, President Rodrigo Duterte praised Russia and said he is willing to participate in trials. “I will tell President Putin that I have huge trust in your studies in combating COVID and I believe that the vaccine that you have produced is really good for humanity,” Duterte said. Malacañang has also expressed enthusiasm to partner with Moscow on vaccine trials, supply, and production.

Using convenience survey of 11,561 respondents nationwide within the period of August 13 to 15, 2020 and data mining method of digital political sentiments of around 1,646,655 Facebook engagements collected on August 11 to 19 2020, WR Numero Research sought to identify the opinions of Filipinos regarding Russia’s coronavirus vaccine and the administration’s move to participate in its trials despite suspicion from experts of the vaccine’s safety.

On whether a COVID-19 vaccine is safe to use once it is approved, 4 in 10 respondents agree that it is already safe to use; while also 4 are unsure about it. When asked whether they agree to be vaccinated, nearly 5 in 10 said they agree to be vaccinated once the vaccine has been approved.

On Russia’s coronavirus vaccine, also called the “Sputnik-V”, a third of the respondents agree to be vaccinated with it and 2 said they disagree; the rest were unsure whether they want to be vaccinated or not. Without having completed yet the Phase 3 of clinical trial research, nearly 5 in 10 think the Russian vaccine is still unsafe to use. According to US Food and Drug Administration, Phase 3 of clinical trial research aims to test drug efficacy and monitor adverse reactions to 300-3,000 volunteers who have the disease or condition. Finally, on the question whether Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine should be used in the Philippines despite no approval from the World Health Organization, more than half of the respondents disagree about its use in the Philippines.

On whether a COVID-19 vaccine is safe to use once it is approved, 4 in 10 respondents agree that it is already safe to use; while also 4 are unsure about it. When asked whether they agree to be vaccinated, nearly 5 in 10 said they agree to be vaccinated once the vaccine has been approved.

On Russia’s coronavirus vaccine, also called the “Sputnik-V”, a third of the respondents agree to be vaccinated with it and 2 said they disagree; the rest were unsure whether they want to be vaccinated or not. Without having completed yet the Phase 3 of clinical trial research, nearly 5 in 10 think the Russian vaccine is still unsafe to use. According to US Food and Drug Administration, Phase 3 of clinical trial research aims to test drug efficacy and monitor adverse reactions to 300-3,000 volunteers who have the disease or condition. Finally, on the question whether Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine should be used in the Philippines despite no approval from the World Health Organization, more than half of the respondents disagree about its use in the Philippines.

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