Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine will cost under $20 per person on international markets and Moscow aims to produce more than a billion doses at home and abroad next year, its financial backers and developers said on Tuesday, Reuters reported.
The Sputnik vaccine, named after the Soviet-era satellite that triggered the space race in a nod to the project’s geopolitical importance for Moscow, is administered in two shots, each of which will cost less than $10, according to the official Sputnik V Twitter account.
For Russian citizens, inoculation will be free of charge. Mass vaccination in Russia, which has the world’s fifth-highest number of recorded COVID-19 cases, has yet to begin as so-called Phase III clinical trials continue.
The Kremlin said on Tuesday that President Vladimir Putin had yet to be vaccinated with Sputnik V. His position meant he could not take something that was still being trialled, it said. One of his two daughters had taken it however, Putin disclosed in August, and felt fine afterwards.
Russia’s pricing announcement comes as Russia looks to scale up distribution and production and as three vaccines, one by AstraZeneca, another by Pfizer/BioNTech and a third by Moderna, have emerged in the West, raising hopes that the global pandemic can be tamed next year.
Moscow, keen to win global market share, touted the international price for Sputnik V as competitive.
“It’s more than twice as cheap as other vaccines that have the same efficacy levels,” Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund, told a briefing. “Right now, Sputnik V is the cheapest vaccine with an efficacy level above 90% in Phase III clinical trials”.
The price of the Russian vaccine is cheaper than some other Western rivals such as the vaccine produced by Pfizer-BioNTech, which costs 15.5 euros per shot, but more expensive than the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, which will be sold in Europe for around 2.5 euros per shot.