15 Jan 2021 19:44

Hadassah Medical Moscow clinic in Skolkovo halts vaccine talks with Pfizer

MOSCOW. Jan 15 (Interfax) - The Moscow branch of the Israeli Hadassah Medical Center, the Hadassah Medical Moscow at the Moscow International Medical Cluster (MIMC), has discontinued talks with Pfizer over buying its vaccine against Covid-19; the clinic's patients will be offered Sputnik V, the clinic and the cluster's press service told Interfax on Friday.

"The Hadassah Medical Moscow, a MIMC member at Skolkovo, has stopped talks with Pfizer over acquisition of its vaccine against Covid-19 and is planning to offer its patients Russia's Sputnik V. No Pfizer vaccination was or is being conducted here," the press service said.

Ever since the pandemic began, the clinic has been in constant contact with the Gamaleya institute and the Russian Direct Investment Fund, they said.

"The Hadassah Medical Moscow will soon begin inoculating its patients with the Sputnik V vaccine based on the adenoviral vector platform. Many experts and doctors consider it a safe technology. And there is as much information about its efficacy as there is about foreign vaccines," the press service said.

Yevgeny Togolukov, who owns the clinic, said it has decided not to purchase other vaccines in order to focus on its main specialization: cancer treatment.

"Although during the pandemic we, like all clinics in Russia, both state and private, found ourselves on the frontline of the fight against coronavirus, our main specialization is to treat oncological diseases and provide palliative care. And that is what we want our primary focus to be: a 100-bed cancer hospital is opening soon, which is a massive job and all our staff efforts are currently directed toward this task. So, we decided not to buy other vaccines, we think it will suffice to offer our patients one already existing solution," Togolukov said.

Late last month, the call center of the Hadassah Medical Moscow branch in the Skolkovo medical cluster in Moscow told Interfax that talks were underway over the potential delivery to Russia of the coronavirus vaccine made by Pfizer and Moderna. Such delivery would not be possible before early February and there was a waiting list, they said.

On January 11, a Pfizer spokesperson told Interfax that its joint vaccine with BioNTech will be delivered only under government contracts in 2021. At the same time, the company did not rule out applying for the registration of its vaccine in Russia.

Meanwhile, industry and government sources told Interfax that this year Russia was unlikely to receive the vaccine made by the U.S. company Pfizer Inc. and that there were no state-level plans for its purchase.

On January 14, the health care regulator Roszdravnadzor told Interfax that import of unregistered vaccines is prohibited and that this ban applies to the MIMC medical organizations. They also said that while they may use medications, which are not registered in Russia, bringing unregistered medications, including the Pfizer vaccine, into Russia remained an open issue. They said they would like to speed up its resolution to ensure "transfer of advanced technologies into Russian medicine."

At present, there are two registered Russian vaccines in Russia: Sputnik V (developed by the Gamaleya center) and EpiVacCorona (Vector Center). Mass vaccination with Sputnik V began nationwide in December; according to the Russian Direct Investment Fund, over 1.5 million people have been inoculated.