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Namibia to suspend use of Russian COVID-19 vaccine

Namibia says it will suspend the distribution of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, days after South Africa’s pharmaceuticals authority raised concerns about the vaccine’s safety for those at risk of HIV.

Namibia’s health ministry said in a statement that the decision to halt use was made out of an abundance of caution on the possibility that males who got Sputnik V were at an increased risk of developing HIV, adding that it had taken SAHPRA’s decision into account.

SAHPRA decided not to accept an emergency use application for Sputnik V for the time being since some research indicated that administration of vaccinations containing the Adenovirus Type 5 vector – which Sputnik V contains – was related to increased HIV susceptibility in men.

Namibia’s decision, according to the Gamaleya Research Institute, was not based on scientific facts or research.

Sputnik V is an adenovirus viral vector vaccine for COVID-19 developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Russia.

Sputnik V continues to be one of the safest and most effective COVID-19 vaccines in use worldwide, the institute told Reuters.

It stated that over 250 clinical trials and 75 international papers have established the safety of vaccines and medications derived from human adenovirus vectors.

“These erroneous speculations, which have subsequently been contradicted, were based on the failure of another manufacturer’s clinical trials of another HIV vaccine, which simply did not appear to be efficient enough.”

Namibia stated that the suspension would be in effect until Sputnik V is classified as an emergency use by the World Health Organization. However, it will provide a second dose of Sputnik V to those who have already got one.