| 24 May 2024, Friday |

G20 Summit: Putin fires first shots, calls for greater recognition to Sputnik jab

Russian President Vladimir Putin, and in what appeared to be first round of fire at G20 Summit, complained about lack of international recognition for its Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine.
“Despite the decisions of the G20, not all countries in need can have access to anti-Covid vaccines,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in video message comments to counterparts that were retransmitted on Russian state television.
“This happens mainly because of dishonest competition, protectionism and because some states, especially those of the G20, are not ready for mutual recognition of vaccines and vaccination certificates,” Putin added.
In an apparent reference to the failure of Russia’s Sputnik V to win foreign regulatory approval, Putin urged G20 health ministers to discuss the mutual recognition of vaccines and vaccination certificates “as soon as possible”.
South Africa refused recognition to Sputnik V vaccine earlier this month. This was in spite of the country being in dire need of vaccines. South Africa claimed that the Russian vaccine could risk of HIV infection among men.
Sputnik V also lacks regulatory approval in the EU and the US.
Chinese President Xi Jinping — who, like Putin did not travel to Rome for the summit and participated by video link — made a similar call for the mutual recognition of vaccines, according to Chinese state media.
Putin and Xi were said to have avoided travelling to Italy due to tightening coronavirus restrictions in their home countries.
Russia has seen increased coronavirus cases in spite of increased availability of Spuynik jabs. Putin has ordered a week-long holiday starting Saturday with an aim to contain spread of the virus.
Russian authorities said Saturday that daily infection numbers had risen to 40,251, a record since the start of the pandemic, with only 32.5 percent of the population fully vaccinated.
At the G20, summit host and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said the international community was “very close to meeting the WHO’s target of vaccinating 40 percent of the global population by the end of 2021”.
“Now we must do all we can to reach 70 percent by mid-2022,” he added.
According to a source quoted by Reuters, “all the leaders” agreed to commit to the target set out by Draghi.
The Italian premier noted that while more than 70 percent of people in developed countries have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, the percentage drops to around three percent in the poorest parts of the world.
“These differences are morally unacceptable, and undermine the global recovery,” he said.