Namibia suspends use of Russian COVID vaccine after South Africa reports HIV concerns
WINDHOEK, October 23 (Reuters) – Namibia will suspend the rollout of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, its health ministry said on Saturday, days after neighboring South Africa’s drug regulatory authority had expresses concerns about its safety for those at risk of HIV.
The regulator SAHPRA has decided not to approve a request for emergency use of Sputnik V at this time, as some studies suggest that administration of vaccines using the adenovirus type 5 vector – which Sputnik V does – may lead to higher susceptibility to HIV in men. Read more
South Africa and Namibia have high HIV prevalence rates.
The Namibian health ministry said in a statement that the decision to stop the use of the Russian vaccine was “by (an) abundance of caution that men (who) received Sputnik V may be at higher risk of contracting the disease. HIV, “adding that he had taken SAHPRA’s measures. decision into account.
The Gamaleya Research Institute, which developed Sputnik V, said Namibia’s decision was not based on any scientific evidence or research.
“Sputnik V remains one of the safest and most effective COVID-19 vaccines used in the world,” the institute told Reuters, adding that more than 250 clinical trials and 75 international publications have confirmed the safety vaccines and drugs based on human adenovirus vectors.
Namibia said the suspension will take effect immediately and will last until Sputnik V receives an emergency use list from the World Health Organization. But it will give people who have received a first dose of Sputnik V a second to complete their vaccination course.
Namibia received 30,000 doses of Sputnik V as a donation from the Serbian government, but only 115 had been administered as of 20 October.
Namibia is also using COVID-19 vaccines developed by Chinese companies Sinopharm, Pfizer (PFE.N), AstraZeneca (AZN.L) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N), acquired through a combination of supply agreements and donations.
So far, it has only fully vaccinated about 240,000 of its 2.5 million people, reflecting the difficulties African countries have in getting enough vaccines amid a global rush for vaccines.
Reporting by Nyasha Nyaungwa in Windhoek and Polina Devitt in Moscow Editing by Alexander Winning and Ros Russell
Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.