August 5, 2021

The great vaccine delay of Belarus, dependent on Russian and Chinese doses

The distribution of Sputnik Light, a one-dose derivative of the controversial Russian vaccine, had been planned for 2022. It will finally be in July with the intention, announced by Belarusian Minister of Health, Dmitri Pinevich, on Friday, June 25, to administer it “To students, by the start of the academic year”. Change of program therefore, justified by the detection the day before in the country of the Delta variant, at the origin of a massive increase in contaminations in the Russian neighbor.

If the authorities aim to vaccinate 60% of the population before the end of the year, this decision seeks above all to make up for the delay taken by Belarus in terms of vaccination. As of Saturday June 26, according to the official report, “More than 837,100 people have already received a first dose, and more than 551,700 have already received both injections.” That is, for the country of 9.3 million inhabitants, 8.9% and 5.9% of the population. Numbers “Credible”, believes Andrei Vitushka, a health specialist from the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISS), but who “Remain fairly low. Apart from Ukraine, our neighbors are much better vaccinated ”.

Read also: Covid-19: Moscow is developing a “light” version of its Sputnik V vaccine

Increasingly isolated on the international scene since the fraudulent re-election of Alexander Lukashenko on August 9, 2020, the country is the only one in the Eastern Partnership agreed with the European Union long before the recent uprising not to take advantage of the international sharing mechanism Covax vaccines. The country is also distinguished by the total absence of strict health measures since the start of the epidemic. There are only “3,113” deaths, according to official figures – denounced by several independent media inquiries.

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Guided by its geopolitical connections, the Lukashenko regime relies instead on the support of China, which recently sent a second delivery of 300,000 doses of its Sinopharm vaccine. And, in this area too, it depends especially heavily on Moscow, which has supplied the country with Sputnik V since December 2020.

Production du Spoutnik V

Belarus even started “producing” the Russian vaccine in April. A pledge of “sovereignty” which the power is proud of, but which Andreï Vitushka minimizes. Indeed, the public company Belmedpreparaty is currently only responsible for the last stage of production, “That which consists of inserting the vaccine into the ampoules”, ensures the former doctor in intensive care. “The Sputnik V itself is produced in Russia. “

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