WHO still reviewing Sputnik V vaccine, as Russia presses bid

GENEVA (AP) — The World Health Organization is still reviewing data about Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine as part of hopes that it can be approved by the U.N. health agency for emergency use against coronavirus, but said Tuesday that no decision is imminent.

The clarification comes after Russia’s Health Minister Mikhail Murashko in recent days reportedly said that administrative issues were among the main holdups in WHO’s decision-making process about whether to grant an emergency use listing to Sputnik V as it has for a half-dozen other vaccines.

Such approval would be a show of international confidence in the vaccine after a rigorous review process, and could pave the way for its inclusion into the COVAX program organized by WHO and key partners that is shipping COVID-19 vaccines to scores of countries around the world based on need.

“As with other candidate vaccines, WHO continues to assess Sputnik V vaccines from different manufacturing sites and will publish decisions on their EUL (emergency use listing) status when all the data are available and the review is concluded,” WHO said in a statement. “The EUL assessment process aims to speed up equitable access to vaccines in order to save lives and bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control.”

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