Russia delivers Sputnik V vaccine to St Petersburg after shortage problems


Russia delivered on Friday the first batch of its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to St Petersburg since late February after shortage problems prompted the city to partially suspend its vaccination efforts.

Russia has said it has vaccinated 3.5 million of its 144 million population with both shots of the Sputnik V vaccine since it began in early December.

Since then several Russian regions, excluding Moscow, have reported shortages, with some Russians voicing frustration about Russia sending vaccines abroad, arguing that more shots should be made available at home.

In St Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city, there has been a shortage of the first component of the two-shot vaccine in more than 30 out of around 120 vaccination points, said Olga Ryabinina, the local health committee’s spokeswoman.

The city has not received new vaccines since late February, she said.

The European Commission’s president last month questioned why Russia is offering its Sputnik V vaccine to countries around the world when its own population still needs to be inoculated.

On Friday, St Petersburg, a city of more than 5 million, received 15,300 doses of the two-component vaccine, the municipal authority said on its website.

“(The doses) will be delivered to vaccination points in the near future,” it cited St Petersburg’s governor, Alexander Beglov, as saying.

Since December 2020, more than 217,000 people in St Petersburg have been inoculated with both shots, and more than 101,000 other people have had the first shot.