Moneycontrol PRO
you are here: HomeNewsTrendsHealth

From non-availability of boosters to pending visa clearances, no end to miseries for Sputnik V takers in India

While some people complained of the non-availability of Sputnik V booster doses in hospitals, when Moneycontrol reached out to Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd, the manufacturers of Sputnik V vaccines in India, a company spokesperson said the booster dose is now available in partner hospitals in Hyderabad, New Delhi, Mumbai, and Pune, and is being extended to other hospitals and cities.

June 27, 2022 / 06:28 PM IST
Representative Image

Representative Image


Overseas travel has become a challenge for those who have taken Sputnik V, the Russian vaccine against COVID-19. While some are facing visa approval issues, others are finding it difficult to get the additional precautionary dose as approved by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) in the country.

Narrating their ordeal, some of them spoke to Moneycontrol about the challenges they have been facing and how their work and studies are getting hampered.

“My family has spent well over Rs 18 lakh for getting me enrolled in Canada’s Algoma University for Graduate Certificate in Project Management. Now, Sputnik V is not an accepted vaccine in Canada and entry has been barred for people wishing to travel to Canada for pursuing education, leisure, and business trips,” Varun, a student from Delhi, who is waiting for his visa clearance, told Moneycontrol.

According to the Union Health Ministry, more than six lakh people have received the Russian vaccine in India.

Also read: Dr Reddy’s to reduce prices of Sputnik booster doses


Close


An NTAGI official said that the vaccine’s Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) listing in WHO is the responsibility of the manufacturer.

“We have assessed the data and have recommended that booster doses can be administered to those who have taken the Sputnik V vaccine earlier,” said the NTAGI official.

Like Varun, many others are also left in the lurch as they are not allowed to travel abroad for their official work.

Pune-based Vishal Patil said his planned official tours to the US and Singapore have been delayed because Sputnik V is not an approved vaccine for both Singapore and the US.

“I have been following up for the last three months but I can’t travel as both the countries are not allowing people who took a vaccine that is not approved by the respective country government,” Patil said.

Muthukumar R D, a businessman from Coimbatore, who outsources furnace oil from Qatar for his company in India, has been trying to go to Qatar since January 2022, but all his efforts have been in vain because he took the Sputnik V vaccine.

“I am even ready to pay the cost of quarantine for five days, but they are still not allowing me to go to Qatar because I have taken Sputnik V,” he said.

Even though the number of people who have taken the Sputnik V vaccine is lesser than those who have taken Covishield or Covaxin, those jabbed with the Russian vaccine are facing numerous issues related to foreign travel and booster shots.

Also read: COVID case rise concerning but no reason to panic: NTAGI's NK Arora

 

Some others facing similar challenges are of the view that the government should probably allow modification of COVID-19 policy to accommodate voluntary re-vaccination of those who have been administered the Sputnik V vaccine and want to travel abroad.

“There are multiple countries that allow mixing of vaccines and the government should look into allowing booster vaccine of either Covishield or Covaxin for people vaccinated with Sputnik V,” said Simar from Bengaluru.

Eminent virologist T Jacob John feels that the government should probably allow modification of COVID-19 policy to accommodate voluntary re-vaccination.

“People who have taken Sputnik vaccine can take the additional booster shots as and when they deem fit for travelling abroad,” he added.

While hearing a plea by petitioner Tarun Mehta, in May 2022, the Supreme Court had ordered the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) to decide on a representation of those people who have been seeking modifications.

In his plea, Mehta had stated that he was vaccinated with the Sputnik-V vaccine, but, since it has not been approved by the WHO, he was unable to travel abroad.

The plea also stated that Sputnik V has not received an Emergency Use Listing (EUL) from the WHO and that various countries have been treating individuals who have been administered Sputnik-V as unvaccinated individuals.

Meanwhile, MoHFW had given a green signal to Sputnik Light in May, for it to be used as a booster dose, for those who have taken the Russian vaccine earlier.

Some people also complained about the non-availability of Sputnik V booster dose in hospitals.

When Moneycontrol reached out to Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, the manufacturer of Sputnik V vaccines in India, a company spokesperson said, “The Sputnik booster is now available in partner hospitals in Hyderabad, New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, and is being extended to other hospitals and cities.”

“A few weeks ago, dose 1 of Sputnik V (i.e., Sputnik Light) received approval for administration at private centres as the precaution dose for beneficiaries who received Sputnik V as their primary vaccine,” the Dr Reddy’s spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, a comment from Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), the international manufacturer of Sputnik V, on the status of the EUA of this vaccine is awaited.
Ayushman Kumar Covers health and pharma for MoneyControl.
first published: Jun 27, 2022 05:44 pm
Sections
ISO 27001 - BSI Assurance Mark