Kremlin Says Sputnik Light Is a Valid Standalone Vaccine

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Kremlin insisted on Monday that Russian-developed Sputnik Light was a standalone COVID-19 vaccine, after Russia’s health minister was quoted as saying it would be used only as a booster for people who have already been inoculated.

Russia had previously promoted Sputnik Light, which comprises the first shot of its flagship two-shot Sputnik V, as an effective standalone vaccine as well as a booster that can be combined with non-Russian vaccines.

Last week, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko was quoted as saying that with the spread of the Delta variant of the virus, the ministry would switch to recommending that Sputnik Light be used for re-vaccination only.

But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday Murashko’s words had been taken out of context.

“Those are two different vaccines (Sputnik V and Sputnik Light) and the efficiency of both has absolutely been proven, not just in our country but in many countries of the world,” he told a briefing.

“Therefore, Sputnik Light can be used both as a main vaccine and as a booster.”

Last month, researchers with the Gamelaya Institute that developed the vaccine published a preprint on medRxiv with results from a study of COVID-19 infections in the Moscow population. The analysis found that a single-shot of the vaccine, which is based on the adenovirus 26 vector, had overall effectiveness of 69.85%, with higher effectiveness in people under age 60.

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