Russia halts COVID vaccine trials due to supply shortages

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Russia's Sputnik V vaccine
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Russia has been forced to halt its ongoing COVID-19 vaccine trial due to high demand and a shortage of doses for vaccinating new volunteers. 

A representative of Crocus Medical the contract research organization that is helping run the trial in Moscow together with Russia’s health ministry observed that the halt is “related to the fact that there’s colossal demand for the vaccine and they are not producing enough to keep up.”

Reports suggest that the authority will have sufficient numbers by November 10, a likely timeline when the vaccinations can be expected to restart.

Employees in 8 out of 25 clinics in Moscow which conducted the clinical trials revealed to international media that the vaccination of new participants in the Phase 3 trials has been temporarily interrupted due to a lack of vaccine dosages caused by strong demand.

The Moscow City Health Department, the authority which supervises these 25 clinics in Moscow has refrained from making any comments on the matter.

Addressing the concerns about the temporary halt of the trial and low supply of doses, Mr. Alexei Kuznetsov,

In response to questions about the temporary halt of the trial and low supply of doses, Alexei Kuznetsov, an aide to Russia’s Minister of Health, stated that the human trial of the vaccine will be continued adding “The target of 40,000 vaccinated volunteers will be met.”

Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, which developed the vaccine and is also manufacturing it has directed questions to the health ministry.

Earlier this week Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged that the country was facing difficulties scaling up production of its main COVID-19 vaccine due to the unavailability of necessary equipment while hoping that the country would be able to start mass vaccinations by the end of the year.