Ten questions for virologist about vaccination against COVID-19

“Only vaccination will save mankind from COVID-10”

“One vaccine — Sputnik V — is pushed as much as possible, while the CoviVac isn’t promoted at all. Also, there is a third Russian vaccine, EpiVacCorona, which, according to our data, hardly works. But it is insistently recommended for everybody for some reason,” one of the most renowned American virologists of Russian origin, Director of the Global Virus Network, Adviser to the World Health Organization, grandson of Kazan Imperial University’s rector Konstantin Chumakov wonders in an interview with Realnoe Vremya. He answers 10 key questions about vaccination and coronavirus for our readers.

  1. Can anti-vaxxers be reassured?

    There are two types of anti-vaxxers. Some are principled, it is their philosophic stance. They in general don’t trust anything, they are illiterate and believe any trifles. They are almost impossible to persuade. Such a position is like a religion for them. Even if they are provided with a lot of arguments, they will anyway trust a global conspiracy theory, aliens and whatever.

    The other group that refuses to receive a vaccine has a more rational opinion. They say: “We know nothing about this vaccine, trials were not conducted, we don’t trust the data that was published because they always lie.” It is people who in general distrust either the government or scientists. These people can be reassured — they need to be provided data to see everything first-hand.
  2. Which vaccine should they be administered? The Sputnik Light?

    I think the ordinary Sputnik will be fine. I don’t really understand this Light. One dose... Amid the deficit of the vaccine, this is better than nothing, of course. But one dose doesn’t have the necessary effect. And the real, firm immunity appears after 2-3 doses. I am sceptical about single-dose vaccination.

    As for pregnant women, it is one of the most vulnerable categories that need to be protected as much as possible. I hope the authors of the Sputnik did trials that showed that the vaccine didn’t pose a threat to pregnant women. They know the reactions and risks of these vaccines better. If pregnant women are excluded from vaccination, they are at risk of infection. And here it is necessary to simply answer the question if a low risk of complications or a high risk of infection is better.
Kristina Ivanova

Konstantin Chumakov is a son of a couple of virologists, a federal centre for the development of immune and biological medicines was named his father M. Chumakov in Moscow. The Chumakov Centre developed Russia's third authorised vaccine against COVID-19, which is CoviVac.