Russia's Sputnik V vaccine also over 90% effective - health ministry

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FILE PHOTO: Bottles with Russia's "Sputnik-V" vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are seen before inoculation at a clinic in Tver
FILE PHOTO: Bottles with Russia's "Sputnik-V" vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are seen before inoculation at a clinic in Tver

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 is more than 90% effective, a representative of the health ministry said on Monday, citing data collated from vaccinations of the public rather than from an ongoing trial.

The comments followed a statement earlier on Monday by vaccine developers Pfizer Inc and BioNTech <BNTX.O>, who said their experimental COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective.

"We are responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of the Sputnik V vaccine among citizens who have received it as part of the mass vaccination programme," Oksana Drapkina, director of a research institute under the health ministry, said in a statement.

"Based on our observations, its effectiveness is also more than 90%. The appearance of another effective vaccine - this is good news for everyone," Drapkina said.

Russia is rolling out the vaccine for domestic use despite the fact that late-stage trials have not yet finished.

Earlier on Monday, Alexander Gintsburg, director of Moscow's Gamaleya Institute which developed the Russian vaccine candidate, said he welcomed the Pfizer news.

"In the near future we expect to publish interim results of the post-registration trial of the vaccine Sputnik V, the so-called Phase III trials. I am sure that its effectiveness level will also be high," he said.

Russia is gearing up to publish preliminary results of an ongoing large-scale human trial, known as Phase III, this month. It is testing the vaccine on 40,000 people in Moscow.

(Reporting by Polina Nikolskaya and Polina Ivanova; Writing by Polina Ivanova; Editing by Toby Chopra and Nick Macfie)