Iron curtain of QR-codes: vaccination turned into geopolitics

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Iron curtain of QR-codes: vaccination turned into geopolitics
Iron curtain of QR-codes: vaccination turned into geopolitics
25 November, 19:37Society
The number of people vaccinated by Sputnik V has exceeded 50 million. But these people do not have the opportunity to travel to many countries: Russian vaccines have not yet received international approval. As a result, the Russian Federation remains fenced off from most countries by the "iron curtain" of QR-codes.

Why has vaccination turned into geopolitics?

Irina Mishina

Список стран, принимающих вакцинированных "Cпутником V".

Deputy Prime Minister of RussiaTatyana Golikova said that by the end of November more than 66 million people had received the first component of the Sputnik V vaccine, and 59 million people had completed the full vaccination cycle. But none of them will be able to visit most European countries, as well as the United States, Canada and Australia. The fact is that the approval process for the Russian vaccine is being postponed all the time. Recall that at present the use of the Sputnik V vaccine, regardless of WHO, which postponed the approval process for the Russian vaccine, has been approved in Belarus, Argentina, Bolivia, Serbia, Algeria, Palestine, Venezuela, Paraguay, Turkmenistan, Hungary, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, the Republic of Guinea, Tunisia, Armenia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Republika Srpska (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Lebanon, Myanmar, Pakistan, Mongolia, Bahrain, Montenegro, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Gabon, San Marino, Ghana, Syria, Kyrgyzstan, Guyana, Egypt, Honduras, Guatemala, Moldova, Slovakia, Angola, Djibouti, Republic of Congo, Sri Lanka, Laos, Iraq, North Macedonia, Kenya, Morocco, Jordan, Namibia, Azerbaijan, Philippines, Cameroon, Seychelles, Mauritius, Vietnam, Antigua and Barbuda, Mali and Panama.

But what about those whose work, for example, is related to travel to Europe or the United States? What should people with dual citizenship who actually live in two countries do? As you know, WHO started the approval process for the Sputnik V vaccine, but it was suspended. As the Russian virologist, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Chief Researcher of the N.F. Gamaleya center Anatoly Altstein, the problem is in the inconsistency of the Russian production conditions with the global GMP standards, which regulate, in particular, the safety parameters, sterility, the condition of the premises and much more. Russia began to switch to these standards only at the very end of the 20th century, so our production is only coming in line with international standards. However, as it became known, international experts found serious flaws at the Pharmstandard plant in Ufa. We tried to find out what these shortcomings are and what are the prospects for the recognition of the Russian vaccine in the world. To do this, we contacted the office of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Moscow. Here is the answer that was received by the editors:

“In response to your request, we inform you that prequalification and listing for use ( vaccines - Ed. ) Are governed by the EUL guidelines, provide for the limited availability of publicly provided information while this process is ongoing and not completed. However, the applicant (RDIF) can provide all the necessary information. The media can also ask a question about this at the regular WHO press briefing held at WHO headquarters in Geneva”.

As you understand, we were unable to ask a question at the briefing in Geneva due to the fact that the Sputnik V vaccine, which our journalists are vaccinated with, is not recognized in Switzerland. However, we received an explanation from the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). The letter received by the editors reads, in particular: “Earlier, the Director General of the RDIF, Kirill Dmitriev, noted:“ The Ministry of Health of Russia is responsible for the approval process of the Russian vaccine at WHO, which is in a positive dialogue with WHO. It is expected that approval will be received by the end of the year after completing a number of bureaucratic procedures".

“To certify a vaccine, it is necessary to go through many stages, it is a long procedure. In connection with the coronavirus pandemic, vaccines were made everywhere urgently - both in the United States and in Europe. Some were allowed to “cut off” sharp corners, some were not. This issue has turned into a political one”, - says a molecular biologist, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Head. laboratory of the Institute of Molecular Biology Petr Chumakov.

We have repeatedly asked about the timing of approval of Russian vaccines and claims to them in the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, but silence was our answer. And this silence leads to ambiguous thoughts. Indeed, apart from bureaucratic obstacles, other questions have long been raised about Sputnik V, Kovivak and EpiVacCorona.

The first question is that the drugs that are used for vaccination in Russia today are experimental. The third phase of clinical trials of "Sputnik V" should be completed only at the end of the year. There is no data on the results of these tests in open sources. However, Doctor of Medical Sciences Nikolay Malyshev clarified that all these data are available to the medical community. In the meantime, a person can inject with such a drug as an "experiment" and "voluntarily". Before vaccination, the patient fills out an informed consent, from which it follows that he is aware of all the risks and consequences of vaccination. The authorities prefer to keep silent about the experimental nature of the drugs, while in many cases people are simply forced to be vaccinated.

The second question is that nowhere is there a record of complications from vaccination. In many countries, even after the official approval of a vaccine, its certification and the completion of clinical trials, based on national interests, the so-called "administration of vaccines" is carried out. That is, they record all cases of side effects after the injection, collect this data into a single database and analyze. By collecting such data, scientists are making adjustments to the drug itself and to the vaccination process. And if necessary, they can even stop vaccination. According to experts , such administration of vaccines exists in the United States. There, back in 1990, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS ) was created . Medical institutions are obliged to send information about "side effects" without fail, if desired, patients themselves and their relatives can do this. A similar system exists in the European Union. It's called EudraVigilance (EV).

An interesting fact emerges from the analysis of data from these "public administration of vaccines" systems. If in the United States during the first thirty years of the VAERS system's existence, the average annual death rates did not exceed 10-20, then in the first months of 2021, with the start of mass vaccination against Covid-19, an explosive increase in mortality was recorded. As of October 15 this year, the number of deaths recorded by the VAERS system reached 17,128. The VAERS website also provides statistics on side effects by their main types. There are 970 385 of them today.

In Russia, there is no such administration of Sputnik V and other domestic vaccines for covid. You will not find information about the "side effects" of vaccination in Russia in any medical source or in general in the public domain. We addressed the issue of fixing and analyzing the "side effects" of vaccination to the operational headquarters under the government of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, however, we did not receive answers from any of these instances.

In conditions when the Sputnik V vaccine is undergoing secretive disapproval, it would be logical to allow the use in Russia of other vaccines approved and certified by WHO, passed all stages of clinical trials, with transparent and accessible data. We do not know whether they are better or worse than the Russian "Sputnik", "Kovivak" and "EpiVacCorona", but at least there is data about them, and a person can consciously assess all the risks. Earlier, the Minister of Health, Mikhail Murashko, allowed the appearance of foreign vaccines on the Russian pharmaceutical market, but on condition of "mirror recognition", that is, approval in the manufacturing countries of Russian vaccines. To clarify this issue, we sent a corresponding request to the Ministry of Health, but no response was received from there at the time of publication of the material. If he does, we will certainly publish it.

To fill the information vacuum, we asked for comment on the situation with the delay in the approval of the Russian vaccine and the prospect of the appearance in Russia of foreign vaccines of the famous infectious disease doctor, doctor of medical sciences, former chief state sanitary doctor of Moscow, Professor Nikolai Malyshev . Here is our dialogue.

“Those who have the opportunity to live abroad or travel there regularly are likely to be able to pay for the trip to get themselves vaccinated with the vaccine that is adopted in the country the person needs.

- Nikolai Aleksandrovich, but in Russia QR codes are issued only in case of vaccination with Russian vaccines, and abroad, in those countries where Sputnik is not recognized, their QR-codes are issued. What to do? Get vaccinated 2 times?

- Yes, be vaccinated 2 times with different vaccines. If there is no desire to be vaccinated - regularly take PCR abroad, where our vaccines are not recognized, at their own expense.

- Maybe it is easier to allow vaccination in Russia with other vaccines, for example, Pfizer, Modena, Astra Zeneca?

- I'm against it. For the people here in Russia who have invested in our vaccine, what should they do? I am for equality. That is, for the mirror recognition of vaccines: they recognize ours, we - theirs".

Vaccination in Russia was initially presented as a political issue. Vaccinations were spoken of in the same tone as Syria or Ukraine. And the nature of the promotion of Russian vaccines was very reminiscent of intrusive marketing. Actually, this is how it turned out, "NI" described it in detail in the article "Satellite of billions: who literally benefits from vaccination." Probably not least for these reasons, the vaccination campaign in Russia has failed.

“The policy of“ show-off ”has never led to anything good. Initially, the position “our vaccine is the best, our vaccine is the first” was bad propaganda. In Russia, the emphasis was placed on the "side effects" and the negative of other vaccines, praising Sputnik. This was actually a discrediting of the entire line of coronavirus vaccines. Now there is no benefit from the fact that foreign vaccines are not allowed on the Russian market. And the "mirror" principle of vaccine recognition is the realization of personal complexes, ambitions and personal grievances of our officials at the expense of the state. As a result, people living an active life are forced to be vaccinated twice or three times, because Russia has its own QR codes, while Europe and America have their own. The Russian system is known to ignore foreign QR codes. We are told about competition in the global pharmaceutical market, but in the vaccine market, only price, quality and availability are really competitive. And let's finally figure out what we stand for: so that people get sick less or defend the interests of vaccine manufacturers so that they earn more?”, - Political analyst Alexander Kynev told Novye Izvestia.

Political scientist Ilya Grashchenkov agrees with him: “Now the question should be posed as follows: what is more important for us - the fight against the pandemic or business? We must finally show political will, recognize the Western vaccines approved by the WHO and allow them to enter the Russian market. Yes, one can find fault with the certification and recognition of Sputnik, this can be allowed. But where are the results of research and clinical trials of our vaccines? Why are they not published, why are they not publicly available, as is the case with all other vaccines? And what are the standards we work by in the production of vaccines, tell us at last!"...

Having become a geopolitical issue, vaccinations have confused health with business and politics. This will, at best, throw the country and the world away from defeating the pandemic.

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