Sputnik V: Russian Astronauts Refuse to Take Country's Coronavirus Vaccine Before ISS Mission

Russia's controversial Coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V has distributed to many regions in the country for public use

Russian Coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, which has created a buzz around the world for its fast-tracked testing procedure, has entered the "civil circulation" in the country. But Russian cosmonauts, soon going for the International Space Station, have refused to take the shot.

Sergei Ryzhikov from Roscosmos, the leader of the next expedition to ISS which will happen in October, on Thursday, September 24, said, "I'd personally say that I would not get vaccinated because I tread very carefully on this issue."

Sergey Ryzhikov
Expedition 64 crew member Sergey Ryzhikov of Roscosmos is seen during Soyuz qualification exams Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020 at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) in Star City, Russia, in advance of his scheduled launch October 14 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station NASA/GCTC/Andrey Shelepin

Russian Astronauts

The astronauts including Ryzhikov were wearing face masks during an online news conference at the Star City training center outside the Russian capital. Their comments about the COVID-19 vaccine came after President Vladimir Putin announced that the country developed an effective vaccine against the virus within a limited time and named the vaccine as "Sputnik V"—after the Soviet-era satellite which was launched in 1957.

As per reports, another astronaut from the Russian crew, Sergey Kud-Sverchkov said, "As soon as the vaccine is tried and tested and proves its reliability then a decision will be taken to recommend that cosmonauts get vaccinated." He also added that the immunization decision is not up to them but to the doctors who are responsible for looking after the astronauts' health. According to the Ryzhikov, the ISS is currently the safest place and the astronauts do not have to be vaccinated because "we strictly follow all sanitary rules."

Expedition 64 crew members during a press conference
Expedition 64 crew members NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, left, Russian cosmonaut Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos, center, and Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov of Roscosmos, listen during a press conference prior to their launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020 at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) in Star City, Russia. NASA/GCTC/Andrey Shelepin

However, Russia's vaccine development has created a controversy among the researches, as many experts expressed that they are doubtful how effective Sputnik V would work. They also questioned the efficacy of the vaccine which received its approval before the completion of the clinical trials.

But many people in Russia, especially high-profile personalities have taken shots of Sputnik V—including Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu—meanwhile, Putin also said that his daughter was also immunized.

Sputnik V Civil Circulation

Russia Coronavirus Vaccine
Russia Coronavirus Vaccine YouTube Grab/Sputnik

As reported by TASS, all the regions in Russia have received the first batch of the controversial Coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V, which was developed by the Gamaleya Federal Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology.

The report also said that in several Russian regions people have received the shots of the vaccine, while healthcare workers considered to be the priority. Further reports confirmed that in Russia, more than 3,500 volunteers have already received the vaccine.

Russian Healthcare Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Friday, September 25 that "today post-registration clinical studies are conducted. There are over 3,500 patients who have received this vaccine. Everything is proceeding as normal."

Related topics : Space