Putin hails Sputnik vaccine as 'reliable as a Kalashnikov'

PUTIN has hailed Russia's one-dose Sputnik Covid vaccine as reliable as a Kalashnikov machine gun.

The Russian leader made the comments during a video conference with deputy Prime Minster Tatyana Golikova, as they launched the new Sputnik Light jab.

The updated version of the vaccine, which involves just a single use, was officially authorised in Russia on Thursday.

In a press release, its makers said a single dose had demonstrated 79.4% efficacy during the country's vaccine roll-out.

"The single-dose regiment allows for immunisation of a larger number of people in a shorter time frame, furthering the fight against the pandemic during the acute phase," the statement said.

The President then added that it was as "reliable as a Kalashnikov' – referring to the popular Russian assault rifle.

Putin was quoting comments originally made by an Austrian doctor earlier this year about the jabs efficacy.

Initially, critics ridiculed the vaccine when it was was given speedy regulatory approval in Moscow last year.

The Sputnik V jab triggers an immune response within the body in a similar way to other vaccines such as Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca.

However, late stage trials have found it offers high levels of protection against the virus.

The two-dose version of the jab has already been authorised in dozens of other countries around the world.

But the Kremlin has been blasted for undermining western jabs by billing its own inoculation as an alternative, amid the EU's shambolic rollout.

This included Russian claims that Sputnik does not cause rare blood clots – as seen in the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.

James Lawson, of The Adam Smith Institute think-tank, told the Mail Online: "With Russia's languishing vaccine campaign, it's clear they are in no position to lecture others.

"Their propaganda is designed to undermine other nations and should not be given any credit."

The state has persistently used the jab’s increasing popularity as a means to “undermine western vaccines.”

Yet, there is now increasing evidence that some countries in the EU and around the world have flocked to get their hands on the vaccine, with shortage in supply.

As The Sun reported last month, this included Italians, who booked their vaccine appointments in Serbia for Chinese and Russian Covid jabs.

Serbia, which is located outside of the EU, has seen an increase in the number of inoculations due to its deals with the likes of Russia for their jabs.

As of April 2021, Sputnik V was authorized in over 60 countries worldwide, according to Statista.com.

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