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After South Africa, Namibia also suspends use of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine
Sputnik V | Namibia
Image Credit: twitter page Sputnik V

After South Africa, Namibia also suspends use of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine

| @indiablooms | 24 Oct 2021, 07:35 pm

After South Africa, Namibia has stopped Russia's Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine citing concerns that it could increase the risk of HIV infection among men, a claim the vaccine's manufacturer says is unfounded, according to media reports.

The Namibian health ministry said in a statement that following South Africa's decision it was suspending, with immediate effect, the use of the jabs until the formula is listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization, reported AFP.

"The reason for discontinuation of the administration of the vaccine is being done out of abundance of caution that men who received Sputnik V may be at higher risk of contracting HIV when exposed to it," said the ministry.

Namibia had taken delivery of a Serbian donation of 30,000 Sputnik doses -- out of which less than 120 have been administered so far.

South Africa's health products regulator said the decision was based on two previous studies, one in South Africa and one in the Americas, on the modified form of adenovirus -- a type of virus that causes respiratory infections -- known as the Ad5 and contained in the jab.

In both trials, "administration of an Ad5-vectored vaccine was associated with enhanced susceptibility/acquisition of HIV in men", the regulator said last week, the AFP report stated.

Russia's Gamaleya Centre, which developed Sputnik V, stated it would bring to fore that SAHPRA's concerns were "completely unfounded".

"Speculation regarding the association between adenovirus type-5 vectored vaccines and HIV transmission in high risk groups has been based on small-scale studies," it said in a statement.    

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