All countries should be given equal access to COVID-19 vaccines, says Russian health minister

# 09:05
19 April 2021

Vaccination is an important means of combating the COVID-19 pandemic, so every country should be given equal and timely access to vaccines, Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Sunday, APA reports citing TASS.

"Large-scale COVID-19 immunization with the aim of preventing and stopping transmission of the infection is considered a global public health benefit by the World Health Assembly. Due to this, we stress the importance of ensuring equal and timely access to safe, quality and effective vaccines," he said during a special session of the UN Economic and Social Council dubbed "A Vaccine for All."

According to the minister, forming a global portfolio of safe and effective vaccines with the aim of providing reliable protection against infections globally is the key goal. He reminded that Russia had been the first country in the world that developed and registered the first COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, three vaccines are registered in Russia, and mass vaccination was launched in January 2020. "So far, there are millions of Russians vaccinated," the minister added.

"Russia actively cooperates with countries and international organizations with the aim to raise the accessibility of the Russian vaccine "Sputnik V" through localizing its production on Russian and foreign platforms. So far, production is localized on 20 such platforms. Today, the Russian vaccine "Sputnik V" is registered and supplied to 60 countries in the world," Murashko stated, adding that Russia is holding talks with the World Health Organization (WHO) on including Sputnik V on the list of vaccines approved for emergency use by the WHO.

Russia also held a vaccination campaign among employees of foreign diplomatic missions stationed in Moscow. Besides, Russia sent donations to a number of UN agencies, Murashko concluded.