Russia’s RDIF says it could ship 100 million doses of vaccine to EU by June

FILE PHOTO: Argentina continues its vaccination process to medical staff with the Sputnik V vaccine

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia could provide the European Union with 100 million doses of its Sputnik V COVID-19 shot – enough to vaccinate 50 million people – in the April-June quarter, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, which markets the vaccine abroad, said on Friday.

“After completion of the main part of mass vaccination in Russia, RDIF can provide EU with 100 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine for 50 million people in Q2 2021,” the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said on Twitter.

Sputnik V is administered to each person in two doses, with the booster shot given 21 days after the first.

The proposed offer of 100 million doses to the EU, made by RDIF on Friday, would be subject to the vaccine’s approval by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the wealth fund said.

Russia has filed for registration of Sputnik V in the European Union and expects it to be reviewed by the EMA in February.

Russian manufacturers have produced just 8.7 million vaccine doses so far, Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said on Thursday.

She did not specify if she counted each dose as including both shots or not. Either way, the number remains relatively low as domestic production continues to ramp up.

Authorities have said that large-scale exports of Russian-produced Sputnik V shots will take place only after Russia’s domestic vaccination needs are met.

Hence, the offer of 100 million doses to the EU in the second quarter would not be supplied by Russian manufacturers.

Instead, it would be produced by manufacturing partners in India, China, Brazil, South Korea and other locations, RDIF said, in response to a request for comment.

However, ramp-up efforts by these foreign manufacturing partners have suffered some delays, disclosed by RDIF this week.

With deals to deliver doses of Sputnik V to more than 500 million people this year, already signed with a number of countries around the world, these delays raise questions about the viability of an offer to supply an additional 100 million doses to the EU by June.

RDIF warned on Wednesday that due to the need to ramp-up production capacity abroad, delays of up to three weeks could be expected on its planned deliveries to Latin America.

“We are now upgrading facilities located outside of Russia to ensure the supply to Argentina and the rest of the region. As a result, we will see a significant increase in production in the second quarter,” RDIF said in relation to the delays.

Russia has thus far exported just under 900,000 doses, enough to inoculate around 450,000 people, based on a Reuters tally. The majority were sent to Argentina, departing from Moscow airports. That figure is below the 5 million doses Argentinian officials expected to receive in January.

(Writing by Polina Ivanova; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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