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Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine - statistics & facts

Sputnik V (the V is pronounced as a letter), also known as Gam-COVID-Vac, is a COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute in Russia. In August 2020, it became the first registered vaccine against the disease worldwide. Scientists in Russia and abroad criticized that the approval took place before the third phase of clinical trials. In February 2021, an article published in the medical journal The Lancet stated that the efficacy of Sputnik V stood at 91.6 percent, which significantly improved the vaccine's reputation. Over 70 countries approved the use of Sputnik V as of November 2021. The vaccine was free in Russia and cost 10 U.S. dollars per dose abroad. In May 2021, Russia registered Sputnik Light, a one-shot COVID-19 vaccine which contained the first component of Sputnik V. According to the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Sputnik Light showed an efficacy of 79.4 percent.

How does Sputnik V work?

According to the manufacturer, Sputnik V is a vector-based vaccine. It consists of two human adenoviral vectors, or genetically modified viruses carrying protein-coding genes from the spike of coronavirus. The first vector, Ad26, is transmitted with the first dose, aimed at boosting immunization. The second vector, Ad5, reaches the body with the second dose 21 days after the first one, in order to strengthen the immune response and to prolong immunity. Other vector-based COVID-19 vaccines include AstraZeneca, or Vaxzevria, from Oxford and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson. The difference in Sputnik V is that it uses two different vectors, according to the aforementioned study in The Lancet.

Which countries use Sputnik V?

Russia started vaccination with Sputnik V among adults in late 2020. Several Latin American countries, such as Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela secured supplies of the vaccine shortly after its approval. In Africa, Sputnik V was administered in Algeria, Egypt, and Tunisia. Among countries in Asia, doses were ordered by Iran and Nepal. Furthermore, Russia supplied Sputnik V to its neighbors, such as Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia. Besides Russia, Sputnik V production takes place in Argentina, Belarus, China, India, South Korea, and several other countries.

Is Sputnik V available in Europe?

Russia applied for the emergency use validation by the World Health Organization in late 2020 and for approval from the European Medical Agency in early 2021. Most European Union members did not approve the use of Sputnik V, waiting for the EMA decision, with the exception of Hungary and Slovakia. Sputnik V accounted for roughly eight percent of total COVID-19 vaccine doses distributed in Hungary as of November 2021. Outside the EU, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, San Marino, and Serbia permitted using the vaccine. In March 2022, WHO postponed Sputnik V's evaluation due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February of that year.

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