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Coronavirus (COVID-19): vaccines and vaccination campaign

As of mid-June, around 2.5 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered worldwide. The distribution of the vaccines and the vaccination rates across countries are probably the top health news right now, outweighing the rather analytical tracking of coronavirus cases and deaths or the emergence of potentially perilous new variants of the virus. The biggest question around the globe seems to be: when are we going back to the 'old normal'? Discover our Statista COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker for the United States and four other countries:

Others lead the way - but China shows an unparalleled pace

Currently, the United Arab Emirates' and Israel’s coronavirus vaccination campaigns are the most successful worldwide (apart from tiny states and territories like the Seychelles, the Maldives, Gibraltar, etc.) based on doses per population. In terms of sheer numbers, China and the United States are the leading nations, with 904 million doses and 311 million doses administered, respectively. Since the United Kingdom is no longer part of the European Union, it has significantly accelerated its approval processes and started its vaccination program earlier than most other countries. As a consequence, the UK has already administered around 72 million doses, while the European Union has administered some 306 million doses.

When it comes to the rate of fully vaccinated persons, Israel’s vaccination program stands out, with nearly 57 percent of all Israelis already receiving the ‘full vaccine package’. As a comparison, the U.S. achieved around 44 percent until now - although the huge difference in the size of these two countries makes a comparison hardly applicable. Currently, China is administering up to 18 million doses per day, a pace at which most countries in the world would be fully vaccinated within a few days. The European Union is second, administering around four million doses per day.

Due to the scarcity of vaccine doses, several countries thought about the idea of skipping or delaying the second jab, just to be able to cover a larger share of the population with at least one dose. The UK introduced a program which delays the second jab up to 12 weeks, while the U.S. authorities made a clear statement against any usage differing from the use in the clinical trials. However, not all coronavirus vaccines need two doses. Johnson & Johnson produced a vaccine that requires only one dose, and this is one among several candidates promising an increased COVID-19 vaccine supply worldwide in the near future. On February 28, the vaccine received an emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The European Medicine Agency (EMA) followed on March 11.

Safety concerns about AZD1222

In the meantime, AstraZeneca's vaccine - codenamed AZD1222 - is in global focus after receiving another setback. During mid-March, mostly European countries have suspended the use of the vaccine following reports of developing blood clots. It remained unclear whether the issue was related to the vaccine, certain batches, or just pure coincidence. On March 17, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended to continue using the vaccine. In Europe, EMA decided the same on March 18, but a connection between some severe cases of coagulation disorders and the vaccine was not totally ruled out. Although the number of severe adverse reactions involving blood clots was small compared to the total doses administered (all in all, around 220 cases in 34 millionen vaccinations, resulting in at least 30 deaths), the news might fuel further skepticism about this particular vaccine and lead to an increase in general (COVID-19) vaccine hesitancy. AstraZeneca's vaccine already had several setbacks during the clinical trials, and ever since has been suffering from increasing image problems. As trust in the COVID-19 vaccines is essential for a successful campaign and each day that vaccinations are stopped/suspended can be crucial, this blow against the most sought-after vaccine worldwide is also a blow against fighting the pandemic as a whole. On April 7, the EMA once again hold a press conference, stating that, although there is a correlation between AZD1222 and the appearance of blood clots with low platelets in some patiens, these side effects are very rare and heavily outweighed by the benefits of the vaccine.
On April 13, the FDA and the CDC both called for a pause for the use of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine in the U.S., due to the very same rare blood clotting cases like seen after the use of AstraZeneca's product. The American company immediately stopped the planned rollout of the vaccine in Europe until further investigations are done. Like previously with AZD1222, the rare blood clots appeared mostly in non-elderly women. But on April 20, the EMA greenlighted the vaccine, once again stating that, although there is a possible relation between the vaccine and very rare severe blood clots, the benefits outweigh the risks. The FDA and the CDC followed this step on April 23.

SARS-CoV-2 mutations pose a new threat

During late 2020 and early 2021, more infectious new variants of the novel coronavirus were discovered in the UK, South Africa, and Brazil, and are spreading in more and more countries since then. While the UK variant (B 1.1.7, now called variant "alpha") has a significantly higher transmissibility, it doesn’t seem to affect the efficacy of current vaccines so far. But studies published in mid-March showed that B.1.1.7 is more than 50 percent deadlier than former variants. It was shown, for example, that the risk to die from COVID-19 for a 55–69-year-old male increased from 0.6 to 0.9 percent within 28 days after a positive test.
Meanwhile, the variants first discovered in South Africa (B.1.351, now called variant "beta") and in Brazil (P.1, now called variant "gamma") have shown potential for immune escape/evasion. For example, Moderna’s vaccine showed significantly lower efficacy rates against B.1.351. As a response, the U.S. biotech company launched a trial for a modified version to tackle the new virus variant. Almost every virus develops mutations over time and they can both weaken the virus or make it more dangerous for humans. To observe and track the new variants is of great importance regarding the success of the ongoing global vaccination campaign.
During April and May, a new variant became the focus of global attention. First discovered in India at the end of 2020, B.1.617 (now called variant "delta") has already become the dominant variant in India and was primarily responsible for the recent surge in new cases. Cases have also been discovered in countries such as the UK, the U.S., and Germany. A subtype of this variant – B.1.617.2 – seems to be even more transmissible than the B.1.1.7 variant. Current vaccines continue to work against the new variant, although at a somewhat lower efficacy level.

Longing for normality

Statistic: Drug manufacturers with the highest number of ordered COVID-19 vaccine doses as of January 2021* (in million doses) | Statista The interest in the vaccines is of course an expression of humanity’s unabated wish and hope to eventually get back to normal life by reaching some kind of herd immunity. Nothing is fueling this hope like the three most prominent/promising vaccines from Biontech/Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca/Oxford which started being approved during end-2020. Combined, these three received and agreed to pre-orders for around five billion doses worldwide.
The first COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for widespread use in the United Kingdom, and the first doses were delivered to British seniors on December 8, 2020. The United States followed, as first shots were received by Americans on December 14th. Although it was the fastest developed and launched vaccine in human history, the next obstacle awaits: How to distribute the vaccine to billions of people around the world? The largest vaccination campaign ever is also a gigantic supply and logistic challenge.

Trust is essential for a successful campaign

Not only is an effective distribution of the vaccine needed, but also enough people who are willing to get vaccinated. Vaccine hesitancy became a more prominent topic recently, and the ongoing pandemic has an intensifying effect. There are countries traditionally skeptical of vaccinations, first and foremost France, Russia, and many other countries of the former Soviet Union and former socialist bloc, as well as regions with strong anti-vaccination movements like Northern Italy. Furthermore, the mixture of a permanent crisis situation, intermittent lockdowns, and restrictions is a breeding ground for general skepticism, rejection of authorities, and conspiracy theories. One of the more prominent and obscure theories is the one about Bill Gates planning to inject the world population with microchips via the vaccine to gain total control.


Statistic: Percentage of U.S. adults who would get vaccinated against COVID-19 if a FDA approved vaccine is available for free as of January 2021 | StatistaAdditionally, the enormous speed with which the laboratories developed and produced the vaccines as well as the quickened process of approval raise concerns among many people, questioning whether they have been thoroughly tested (while other major factors like technology advancements, combined forces in R&D, and extraordinary funding from many countries are often overlooked). Accordingly, in many countries the group of hesitant people who ‘first want to wait and see’ was significant – for example, almost 40 percent of all surveyed in the United States at the begin of the vaccination campaign, although this percentage decreased to 12 percent until May 2021. Among the countries with the most positive attitudes towards the new vaccines are the UK and the Scandinavian countries, while France, Japan, and Poland showed significantly lower approval rates.

The only true game-changer

As soon as the deadly potential of the new coronavirus became obvious, finding a safe and effective vaccine was the global health priority. Other than potentially dangerous herd immunity by natural infection, for many experts it is the only true game-changer in this pandemic. Being the first company to produce a vaccine against the new disease is a matter of prestige and, even more so, a matter of potentially high profits. Not only the established big pharma companies, but also small innovative biotech firms are competing to create a vaccine against the new coronavirus. Several such companies have increased their market capitalization as a result of being involved in research on SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 - the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease).

Good news in November 2020

On November 9th, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their vaccine BNT162b2 was 90 percent effective in protecting from COVID-19. After more evidence from the trials came in, the efficacy rate was corrected to even 95 percent. Thus, the American-German cooperation was the first project with preliminary evidence from phase III in clinical trials.

Statistic: Number of coronavirus (COVID-19) drugs and vaccines in development worldwide as of January 15, 2021, by phase | Statista This would facilitate the production of the first 50 million doses of the vaccine until year-end, and then another 1.3 billion doses during 2021. Only a week after the announcement of BioNTech/Pfizer, U.S. biotech company Moderna also reported that phase III trials of its vaccine showed an outstanding 95 percent efficacy. Both vaccines are using mRNA technology and would be the first vaccines of this kind ever brought to market. As of early December, applications for (emergency) approval have already been submitted in the U.S. and in Europe. On December 2nd, the United Kingdom became the first country to announce the approval of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine for widespread use among its population.

Progress and setbacks for AstraZeneca's vaccine

AstraZeneca added to the positive news on November 23. The company reported that its vaccine – developed in partnership with Oxford University – showed a 62-90 percent efficacy in phase III. Although the efficacy is significantly lower, the vaccine could be the favorite for widespread usage around the world. While the vaccines developed by Moderna and especially Pfizer need an ultracold supply chain that has yet to be established, AstraZeneca’s vaccine can be stored at normal refrigerator temperature. Therefore, it would be far more attractive for remote areas and poorer countries. However, the big range in efficacy and the fact that patients with a lower dose showed the most protection, exposed dosing errors in the trial. There were further setbacks to hit the late-stage clinical trials of the AstraZeneca/Oxford project. One patient developed severe neurological symptoms, while another volunteer died in Brazil. The trial continued, however, because the deceased patient was believed to be part of the placebo group.

Finally, on December 30, the British authorities gave green light for the vaccine. But the next turn of events came at the end of January when it became clear that the British-Swedish company will not be able to deliver the huge amounts of vaccine that were pre-ordered by many countries around the world within the agreed time frame. The announcement of reduced deliveries led to a heated dispute especially between the European Union and the drug manufacturer. In February, further throwbacks came along. Due to lack of data on the efficacy among seniors, several countries approved the vaccine only for adults younger than 65 years. And in South Africa, the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine was stopped after it showed a too low efficacy against the new mutation of the virus.

Early frontrunners in the race for a vaccine

From the very beginning of COVID-19 vaccine research, Moderna's mRNA-1273 probably was the most mentioned vaccine in development. It has been developed by Moderna Inc. in partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Considering how slow drug development can be, the new vaccine was ready in record time, far quicker than drugs manufactured during previous pandemics. This was made possible mostly by significant scientific advances in recent years.

Statistic: Number of coronavirus (COVID-19) clinical trials for drugs and vaccines worldwide as of August 10, 2020, by type | Statista The mRNA-1273 vaccine was the first vaccine worldwide given to healthy humans. The urgent situation means that regulators have started to grant emergency approvals for diagnostics, vaccines, and treatments. After Moderna, CanSino Biologics from China was the second company which started running clinical tests in healthy volunteers. The trio of top frontrunners was completed by a team at the Oxford University partnered by AstraZeneca.

A surprise from Russia

On August 11th, Russia’s president Putin announced that his country was the first to have a vaccine ready to be administered to COVID-19 patients. As a way of showing total confidence in the vaccine called "Sputnik V", he informed the media that one of his daughters had already received a dose. Scientists from outside Russia have reacted with skepticism. Not only was clinical trial phase II performed with only 76 participants, but phase III results were skipped completely. Phase III began only in September with approximately 40,000 volunteers, according to Russian sources. But as of November, the first results of the late-stage trial showed that the Sputnik V vaccine had a high efficacy, ranging from 92-95 percent. While several countries around the world have pre-ordered the vaccine, Western countries remained skeptical, stating a lack of peer-reviewed evidence from the trials in Russia so far. These concerns have been removed to a certain extent by an analysis published in The Lancet on February 2, confirming Sputnik V's high efficacy of nearly 92 percent. Since then, an increasing number of Western pharmaceutical companies and countries are in talks with the Russian site about producing and using Sputnik V. A big issue for Western countries is, however, that Russia might want to gain political leverage and influence through the vaccine. On May 6, Russia announced that over 20 million people worldwide have received at least one dose of Sputnik V so far.

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TOP SELLER

Coronavirus (COVID-19): vaccines and vaccination campaign

As of mid-June, around 2.5 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered worldwide. The distribution of the vaccines and the vaccination rates across countries are probably the top health news right now, outweighing the rather analytical tracking of coronavirus cases and deaths or the emergence of potentially perilous new variants of the virus. The biggest question around the globe seems to be: when are we going back to the 'old normal'? Discover our Statista COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker for the United States and four other countries:

Others lead the way - but China shows an unparalleled pace

Currently, the United Arab Emirates' and Israel’s coronavirus vaccination campaigns are the most successful worldwide (apart from tiny states and territories like the Seychelles, the Maldives, Gibraltar, etc.) based on doses per population. In terms of sheer numbers, China and the United States are the leading nations, with 904 million doses and 311 million doses administered, respectively. Since the United Kingdom is no longer part of the European Union, it has significantly accelerated its approval processes and started its vaccination program earlier than most other countries. As a consequence, the UK has already administered around 72 million doses, while the European Union has administered some 306 million doses.

When it comes to the rate of fully vaccinated persons, Israel’s vaccination program stands out, with nearly 57 percent of all Israelis already receiving the ‘full vaccine package’. As a comparison, the U.S. achieved around 44 percent until now - although the huge difference in the size of these two countries makes a comparison hardly applicable. Currently, China is administering up to 18 million doses per day, a pace at which most countries in the world would be fully vaccinated within a few days. The European Union is second, administering around four million doses per day.

Due to the scarcity of vaccine doses, several countries thought about the idea of skipping or delaying the second jab, just to be able to cover a larger share of the population with at least one dose. The UK introduced a program which delays the second jab up to 12 weeks, while the U.S. authorities made a clear statement against any usage differing from the use in the clinical trials. However, not all coronavirus vaccines need two doses. Johnson & Johnson produced a vaccine that requires only one dose, and this is one among several candidates promising an increased COVID-19 vaccine supply worldwide in the near future. On February 28, the vaccine received an emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The European Medicine Agency (EMA) followed on March 11.

Safety concerns about AZD1222

In the meantime, AstraZeneca's vaccine - codenamed AZD1222 - is in global focus after receiving another setback. During mid-March, mostly European countries have suspended the use of the vaccine following reports of developing blood clots. It remained unclear whether the issue was related to the vaccine, certain batches, or just pure coincidence. On March 17, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended to continue using the vaccine. In Europe, EMA decided the same on March 18, but a connection between some severe cases of coagulation disorders and the vaccine was not totally ruled out. Although the number of severe adverse reactions involving blood clots was small compared to the total doses administered (all in all, around 220 cases in 34 millionen vaccinations, resulting in at least 30 deaths), the news might fuel further skepticism about this particular vaccine and lead to an increase in general (COVID-19) vaccine hesitancy. AstraZeneca's vaccine already had several setbacks during the clinical trials, and ever since has been suffering from increasing image problems. As trust in the COVID-19 vaccines is essential for a successful campaign and each day that vaccinations are stopped/suspended can be crucial, this blow against the most sought-after vaccine worldwide is also a blow against fighting the pandemic as a whole. On April 7, the EMA once again hold a press conference, stating that, although there is a correlation between AZD1222 and the appearance of blood clots with low platelets in some patiens, these side effects are very rare and heavily outweighed by the benefits of the vaccine.
On April 13, the FDA and the CDC both called for a pause for the use of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine in the U.S., due to the very same rare blood clotting cases like seen after the use of AstraZeneca's product. The American company immediately stopped the planned rollout of the vaccine in Europe until further investigations are done. Like previously with AZD1222, the rare blood clots appeared mostly in non-elderly women. But on April 20, the EMA greenlighted the vaccine, once again stating that, although there is a possible relation between the vaccine and very rare severe blood clots, the benefits outweigh the risks. The FDA and the CDC followed this step on April 23.

SARS-CoV-2 mutations pose a new threat

During late 2020 and early 2021, more infectious new variants of the novel coronavirus were discovered in the UK, South Africa, and Brazil, and are spreading in more and more countries since then. While the UK variant (B 1.1.7, now called variant "alpha") has a significantly higher transmissibility, it doesn’t seem to affect the efficacy of current vaccines so far. But studies published in mid-March showed that B.1.1.7 is more than 50 percent deadlier than former variants. It was shown, for example, that the risk to die from COVID-19 for a 55–69-year-old male increased from 0.6 to 0.9 percent within 28 days after a positive test.
Meanwhile, the variants first discovered in South Africa (B.1.351, now called variant "beta") and in Brazil (P.1, now called variant "gamma") have shown potential for immune escape/evasion. For example, Moderna’s vaccine showed significantly lower efficacy rates against B.1.351. As a response, the U.S. biotech company launched a trial for a modified version to tackle the new virus variant. Almost every virus develops mutations over time and they can both weaken the virus or make it more dangerous for humans. To observe and track the new variants is of great importance regarding the success of the ongoing global vaccination campaign.
During April and May, a new variant became the focus of global attention. First discovered in India at the end of 2020, B.1.617 (now called variant "delta") has already become the dominant variant in India and was primarily responsible for the recent surge in new cases. Cases have also been discovered in countries such as the UK, the U.S., and Germany. A subtype of this variant – B.1.617.2 – seems to be even more transmissible than the B.1.1.7 variant. Current vaccines continue to work against the new variant, although at a somewhat lower efficacy level.

Longing for normality

Statistic: Drug manufacturers with the highest number of ordered COVID-19 vaccine doses as of January 2021* (in million doses) | Statista The interest in the vaccines is of course an expression of humanity’s unabated wish and hope to eventually get back to normal life by reaching some kind of herd immunity. Nothing is fueling this hope like the three most prominent/promising vaccines from Biontech/Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca/Oxford which started being approved during end-2020. Combined, these three received and agreed to pre-orders for around five billion doses worldwide.
The first COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for widespread use in the United Kingdom, and the first doses were delivered to British seniors on December 8, 2020. The United States followed, as first shots were received by Americans on December 14th. Although it was the fastest developed and launched vaccine in human history, the next obstacle awaits: How to distribute the vaccine to billions of people around the world? The largest vaccination campaign ever is also a gigantic supply and logistic challenge.

Trust is essential for a successful campaign

Not only is an effective distribution of the vaccine needed, but also enough people who are willing to get vaccinated. Vaccine hesitancy became a more prominent topic recently, and the ongoing pandemic has an intensifying effect. There are countries traditionally skeptical of vaccinations, first and foremost France, Russia, and many other countries of the former Soviet Union and former socialist bloc, as well as regions with strong anti-vaccination movements like Northern Italy. Furthermore, the mixture of a permanent crisis situation, intermittent lockdowns, and restrictions is a breeding ground for general skepticism, rejection of authorities, and conspiracy theories. One of the more prominent and obscure theories is the one about Bill Gates planning to inject the world population with microchips via the vaccine to gain total control.


Statistic: Percentage of U.S. adults who would get vaccinated against COVID-19 if a FDA approved vaccine is available for free as of January 2021 | StatistaAdditionally, the enormous speed with which the laboratories developed and produced the vaccines as well as the quickened process of approval raise concerns among many people, questioning whether they have been thoroughly tested (while other major factors like technology advancements, combined forces in R&D, and extraordinary funding from many countries are often overlooked). Accordingly, in many countries the group of hesitant people who ‘first want to wait and see’ was significant – for example, almost 40 percent of all surveyed in the United States at the begin of the vaccination campaign, although this percentage decreased to 12 percent until May 2021. Among the countries with the most positive attitudes towards the new vaccines are the UK and the Scandinavian countries, while France, Japan, and Poland showed significantly lower approval rates.

The only true game-changer

As soon as the deadly potential of the new coronavirus became obvious, finding a safe and effective vaccine was the global health priority. Other than potentially dangerous herd immunity by natural infection, for many experts it is the only true game-changer in this pandemic. Being the first company to produce a vaccine against the new disease is a matter of prestige and, even more so, a matter of potentially high profits. Not only the established big pharma companies, but also small innovative biotech firms are competing to create a vaccine against the new coronavirus. Several such companies have increased their market capitalization as a result of being involved in research on SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 - the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease).

Good news in November 2020

On November 9th, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their vaccine BNT162b2 was 90 percent effective in protecting from COVID-19. After more evidence from the trials came in, the efficacy rate was corrected to even 95 percent. Thus, the American-German cooperation was the first project with preliminary evidence from phase III in clinical trials.

Statistic: Number of coronavirus (COVID-19) drugs and vaccines in development worldwide as of January 15, 2021, by phase | Statista This would facilitate the production of the first 50 million doses of the vaccine until year-end, and then another 1.3 billion doses during 2021. Only a week after the announcement of BioNTech/Pfizer, U.S. biotech company Moderna also reported that phase III trials of its vaccine showed an outstanding 95 percent efficacy. Both vaccines are using mRNA technology and would be the first vaccines of this kind ever brought to market. As of early December, applications for (emergency) approval have already been submitted in the U.S. and in Europe. On December 2nd, the United Kingdom became the first country to announce the approval of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine for widespread use among its population.

Progress and setbacks for AstraZeneca's vaccine

AstraZeneca added to the positive news on November 23. The company reported that its vaccine – developed in partnership with Oxford University – showed a 62-90 percent efficacy in phase III. Although the efficacy is significantly lower, the vaccine could be the favorite for widespread usage around the world. While the vaccines developed by Moderna and especially Pfizer need an ultracold supply chain that has yet to be established, AstraZeneca’s vaccine can be stored at normal refrigerator temperature. Therefore, it would be far more attractive for remote areas and poorer countries. However, the big range in efficacy and the fact that patients with a lower dose showed the most protection, exposed dosing errors in the trial. There were further setbacks to hit the late-stage clinical trials of the AstraZeneca/Oxford project. One patient developed severe neurological symptoms, while another volunteer died in Brazil. The trial continued, however, because the deceased patient was believed to be part of the placebo group.

Finally, on December 30, the British authorities gave green light for the vaccine. But the next turn of events came at the end of January when it became clear that the British-Swedish company will not be able to deliver the huge amounts of vaccine that were pre-ordered by many countries around the world within the agreed time frame. The announcement of reduced deliveries led to a heated dispute especially between the European Union and the drug manufacturer. In February, further throwbacks came along. Due to lack of data on the efficacy among seniors, several countries approved the vaccine only for adults younger than 65 years. And in South Africa, the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine was stopped after it showed a too low efficacy against the new mutation of the virus.

Early frontrunners in the race for a vaccine

From the very beginning of COVID-19 vaccine research, Moderna's mRNA-1273 probably was the most mentioned vaccine in development. It has been developed by Moderna Inc. in partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Considering how slow drug development can be, the new vaccine was ready in record time, far quicker than drugs manufactured during previous pandemics. This was made possible mostly by significant scientific advances in recent years.

Statistic: Number of coronavirus (COVID-19) clinical trials for drugs and vaccines worldwide as of August 10, 2020, by type | Statista The mRNA-1273 vaccine was the first vaccine worldwide given to healthy humans. The urgent situation means that regulators have started to grant emergency approvals for diagnostics, vaccines, and treatments. After Moderna, CanSino Biologics from China was the second company which started running clinical tests in healthy volunteers. The trio of top frontrunners was completed by a team at the Oxford University partnered by AstraZeneca.

A surprise from Russia

On August 11th, Russia’s president Putin announced that his country was the first to have a vaccine ready to be administered to COVID-19 patients. As a way of showing total confidence in the vaccine called "Sputnik V", he informed the media that one of his daughters had already received a dose. Scientists from outside Russia have reacted with skepticism. Not only was clinical trial phase II performed with only 76 participants, but phase III results were skipped completely. Phase III began only in September with approximately 40,000 volunteers, according to Russian sources. But as of November, the first results of the late-stage trial showed that the Sputnik V vaccine had a high efficacy, ranging from 92-95 percent. While several countries around the world have pre-ordered the vaccine, Western countries remained skeptical, stating a lack of peer-reviewed evidence from the trials in Russia so far. These concerns have been removed to a certain extent by an analysis published in The Lancet on February 2, confirming Sputnik V's high efficacy of nearly 92 percent. Since then, an increasing number of Western pharmaceutical companies and countries are in talks with the Russian site about producing and using Sputnik V. A big issue for Western countries is, however, that Russia might want to gain political leverage and influence through the vaccine. On May 6, Russia announced that over 20 million people worldwide have received at least one dose of Sputnik V so far.

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