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Sputnik jab upgraded for new variants

/ 05:44 AM June 24, 2021
Brazilian firm to produce Russian vaccine without regulatory approval

FILE PHOTO: A medical specialist holds a vial of Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus in a department store in Moscow, Russia, January 18, 2021 REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov/File Photo

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine vaccine experts are discussing ways to address shipment delay issues, particularly concerning the 150,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V.

The National Task Force against COVID-19 (NTF) said on Wednesday that it was informed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) that the delivery, supposedly this month, had been pushed back.

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RDIF, which is Russia’s sovereign wealth fund that markets Sputnik V, told NTF that the delay was due to upgrades being undertaken on the vaccine against newer COVID variants.

Unlike other vaccines, Sputnik’s two-dose regimen has specified components for the first and the second doses.

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The present prescribed interval between two doses is 21 days, but Food and Drug Administration chief Eric Domingo said manufacturer Gamalaya Institute sought to amend its emergency use authority (EUA) and lengthen this period to 90 days.

Gamaleya was also working on producing a single-dose vaccine.

The 50,000 delayed doses should be the corresponding Component II or the second dose of those who took the initial shot in May.

The NTF said it was awaiting advice whether the delivery of the 100,000 Component II, which would correspond to the 100,000 doses delivered on June 11, would also be affected by the delay.

Beyond control

“We seek your kind understanding that this development is beyond the control of the Philippine government,” said the NTF in a statement.

It also advised local governments to inform Sputnik recipients among their constituents.

“While this may be the case, we would like to emphasize that this unforeseen delay in the delivery will not in any way compromise the efficacy of the vaccines,” the NTF said.

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Gamaleya said the vaccine achieves 79.4-percent efficacy on the 28th day after the first shot and provides the same level of protection even when the second dose is taken past the schedule.

Vaccine Expert Panel member Dr. Rontgene Solante said experts were discussing whether there should be new protocols on the administration of Sputnik vaccines.

“In general, we need to follow the EUA as much as possible. (But) delaying a second dose is acceptable, it will still work if unavoidable,” said another government adviser Dr. Edsel Salvana in a text message.

Salavana, however, discouraged Sputnik recipients to take a different brand for their second dose, as “mixing vaccines is still experimental and is not recommended at this time.” INQ

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TAGS: COVID-19 Vaccines, Sputnik V upgrade
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