First batch of Sputnik V vaccine to arrive on island today

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By Carlena Knight

A thousand doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine are expected to arrive in Antigua and Barbuda today.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne informed Cabinet that the vaccines which are a gift from a philanthropist, will be arriving at 1 pm. It is also anticipated that a larger shipment of the Sputnik V will be arriving shortly afterwards.

This news comes just days after 24,000 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine arrived on island through the COVAX arrangement. This is the first batch out of the 44,000 that the government has already paid for.

The Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister, Lionel ‘Max’ Hurst stated previously that the country requested 100,000 doses of the Sputnik vaccine but added that it was premature to determine if that will be the overall amount received.

Cabinet Spokesperson Melford Nicholas mentioned at the post-Cabinet Press Briefing on Friday, that there will be no stipulations for the administering of this vaccine once it is approved for use by the local Pharmaceutical Council.

“I think we are in the realm of having to deal with the general public. You would recall at first that we were looking at the vulnerable within our society and the frontline workers, but we are at the level now where the rest of the general population can look forward to a general application of these vaccines and so I think, it will cover everyone,” Nicholas said.

He is encouraging members of the public who have not registered to do so.

The Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine gives around 92 percent protection against Covid-19, late-stage trial results published in The Lancet reveal. It is one of three vaccines that are more than 90 per cent effective.

Despite the high rate, news broke yesterday that four people recently died in Russia shortly after taking the Sputnik V anti-corona jab.

According to EUObserver, the matter is being taken “seriously” by the EU regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in Amsterdam.

Six other Russians also had medical complications after taking the vaccine, according to internal case files from RosPotrebNadzor, a Russian body responsible for administering vaccinations, seen by EUObserver.

Three of the deceased were women aged 51, 69, and 74, and the fourth one was not identified in the leaked files.

The deaths were heart, lung, or blood-sugar related and might or might not have been caused by Sputnik V, the dossier of Russian documents indicated.

The other six patients were younger men and women, one of whom was just 25.

They suffered a range of symptoms, including breathing difficulties, convulsions, swelling, muscle weakness, high blood pressure, headaches, dizziness, and fevers after their jabs.

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