Russia Covid-19 vaccine: Health officials and world leaders have criticised Russia for releasing the vaccine in haste, by rushing through the first two phases of clinical trials.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement Tuesday – on what Kremlin claims is the world’s first vaccine for the novel coronavirus – was met with a mixed response from leaders and health authorities across the globe.

The vaccine, dubbed ‘Sputnik V’, was granted regulatory approval by Russia’s health ministry even before it cleared a vital last-stage of human trials to establish its safety and efficiency. Health officials and world leaders have criticised Russia for releasing the vaccine in haste, by rushing through the first two phases of clinical trials.

Responding to Putin’s claim, a spokesperson for the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that “rigorous review” and assessment of the vaccine was needed before the global health body could recommend the use of the Russian vaccine, AFP reported.

“We are in close contact with the Russian health authorities and discussions are ongoing with respect to possible WHO pre-qualification of the vaccine,” WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said during an online press briefing. “Pre-qualification of any vaccine includes the rigorous review and assessment of all the required safety and efficacy data.”