An Israeli hospital said Thursday it will ask the government to approve Russia's coronavirus vaccine after ordering 1.5 million doses of the substance in an effort to examine its effectiveness.
Jerusalem's Hadassah Medical Center chief, Professor Ze'ev Rotstein, confirmed the hospital will be requesting the Health Ministry approval to administer the vaccine to the public when the human trials are complete, despite some regulatory and safety concerns voiced over its development.
"If we turn down the Russian vaccine before the regulatory process is complete and other countries provide it to their populations, we will have no one to blame but ourselves," Rotstein told Ynet in an interview.
"We have respect for the Russian vaccine and our Moscow branch has been involved in its human trial," he said, "We are hearing very good things."
Thus far, the vaccine has been tested for safety but not efficacy. "Many other vaccine trials have been suspended for safety concerns, but not the Russian one," Rostein said, though he conceded that the Russian regulatory process is not as stringent as the one employed by most Western countries.
"This is a battle for billions of dollars all over the world," he said. "Every country wants to have a working vaccine for its people while the pandemic continues to claim many lives, so no potential vaccine should be discounted. But if this vaccine proves safe and effective at the end of the trial, we must certainly consider it," Rotstein said.
"We are working against the clock," he said. "All the major pharmaceutical companies are trying to be first to market.
"Israel has already placed a tentative order with Moderna and other companies, but we should reserve as many vaccine options as possible," the Hadassah chief said, adding that his hospital would act as a Beta subject.