Days before the Costa Rican ambassador to India stated that the Costa Rican authorities are interested in the Covaxin vaccine developed in India, the diplomatic representative in Moscow made a similar statement about the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine. According to statements by Ambassador Lilliam Rodríguez, they are even waiting to be able to register the drug with the Ministry of Health.
“We continue to be interested in information about the vaccine. This is a decision that has to be made at a very high level of the Ministry of Health to register (…) Sputnik V as one more vaccine, because I believe that all countries are in great need of vaccines,” she told the Sputnik agency at the beginning of this month.
Her message contradicts the position that the Ministry of Health maintained until mid-February. According to the institution, the lack of international recognition distanced the Russian vaccine from the Costa Rican strategy.
“One of the requirements that was contemplated for the acquisition of vaccines in Costa Rica is that they have the approval of a strict regulatory agency recognized at an international level such as FDA or EMA,” said the Ministry in the recent past.
The “Russian” vaccine
The perception of the Russian vaccine has undergone a sea change in a matter of months. At the end of 2020, when the Russian authorities announced an efficiency of 92%, some international entities expressed distrust due to “secrecy” during the tests.
However, since November of last year to date, Sputnik V does not suffer from greater stigmas and, on the contrary, has gained adherents. Precisely, neighbors of Russia such as Germany or Spain announced, in February, that they will use this version as soon as it has the approval of the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
In this sense, the high representative of Foreign Policy and Security of the EU, Josep Borrell, assured that this consent, “would be good news, because as you know we face a shortage of vaccines”.
Countries who have approved its use
To date there are 46 countries with Sputnik V approved. Of them, 29 already apply it. In Latin America Latin America Argentina, Bolivia and Venezuela already vaccinate with this recipe. In addition, Mexico and Nicaragua have advanced their negotiations.
The aid requested from India
Although Costa Rica has already formalized contracts for the doses to vaccinate 3.5 million inhabitants, there are efforts to obtain other vaccines for free. In an interview with the Indian press, Ambassador Claudio Ansorena said that donations of the Covaxin vaccine had been requested. This was developed by the Indian industry and according to the diplomat there would be an interest in buying additional doses.
Despite these statements, and after the news broke in Costa Rica, both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Health contradicted what Ansorena said. According to both institutions, there is a donation request made by the Ministry of Health at the request of Health.
But both institutions agree that Covaxin vaccines are not desired, except Covishield – Asian version of AstraZeneca. The request was sent through diplomatic channels and was reinforced with efforts from the Embassy in New Delhi, with no results being known so far.
Furthermore, the government denied any interest in purchasing prescription doses from India. “The Government of Costa Rica has not requested a donation or purchase of the Covaxin vaccine,” said Health authorities.