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Russia trumpets vaccine exports, while quietly importing doses

Russian officials said last fall that overseas manufacturing could partly meet demand at home, but have since gone quiet about importing a product that has been held up as a triumph of the country’s scientists. Manufacturing the vaccine in Russia, however, has been a different story.

March 29, 2021 / 02:50 PM IST
FILE -- People wait in line to receive the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine at the State Department Store GUM in Moscow, Jan. 19, 2021. Russia has held up the Sputnik vaccine as a triumph of its scientists, but the country’s inoculation program still relies on cross-border trade. (Sergey Ponomarev/The New York Times)

FILE -- People wait in line to receive the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine at the State Department Store GUM in Moscow, Jan. 19, 2021. Russia has held up the Sputnik vaccine as a triumph of its scientists, but the country’s inoculation program still relies on cross-border trade. (Sergey Ponomarev/The New York Times)

Andrew E. Kramer

MOSCOW — Russia has lauded with much fanfare the arrival of its homegrown vaccine, Sputnik V, in Latin America and Africa, and even in some countries in Europe, calling it a solution to shortages around the world.

It has been less vocal, though, about one country that is also importing the vaccine: Russia.

The Russian government has contracted out the manufacture of Sputnik V to a South Korean company that has already sent the vaccine to Russia, and plans to do the same with a company from India.