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Sputnik V's recognition in 2021 possible despite red-tape, politics — expert

Timeframes for the approval of the Russian vaccine are a tricky question, Andrey Bystritsky acknowledged

MOSCOW, October 12. /TASS/. The World Health Organization may approve Russia's Sputnik V vaccine by the end of this year. The meeting between Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will accelerate this process, but the political and bureaucratic hindrances are still there, the board chairman of the Foundation of Support for and Development of the Valdai Discussion Club, Andrey Bystritsky, told TASS on Tuesday.

"The vaccine's recognition involves a political factor, of course, but there are some others, no doubt about that. Also, there are very complicated bureaucratic procedures. You've got to know the ropes well. Functionaries around the world are all alike. Their prime concern is to stick to the rules. Bureaucracy is very strong. They tend to see any departure from the instructions as a crude violation. In a sense, they do have a point. But, one has a feeling it's all unduly delayed. And this is unfair," Bystritsky said.

Timeframes for the approval of the Russian vaccine are a tricky question, he acknowledged. "The WHO promises they will approve it before the year is out. It will be a great success, a great breakthrough, if they do. I believe there is enough time this year - a large share of October, November and December. Possibly, a decision will be made by year-end," Bystritsky added. He recalled that the recognition of the Russian vaccine was already in progress around the world. Many countries have approved it and their citizens having the Sputnik V certificate "easily travel there where Russians cannot."

The analyst is certain that the Murashko-Ghebreysus meeting in Geneva will accelerate the WHO's recognition of the Russian vaccine. Bystritsky pointed to two possibilities - the recognition of the Russian vaccine as such and the recognition of immunization certificates for traveling. "The way I see it, some progress is underway. It is slower than I would anticipate, but it is continuing. The latest events evoke optimism," he concluded.

Sputnik V was registered in Russia on August 11, 2020, becoming the world's first officially registered vaccine against the novel coronavirus.

Earlier, Murashko said that all impediments to the resignation of Sputnik by the World Health Organization had been removed.