Namibia stops using Sputnik jab after South

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Namibia has suspended the use of the Russian Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine following concerns from neighboring South Africa, the Ministry of Health said on Saturday.

South Africa said earlier this week that it would not approve Sputnik V due to fears that it could increase the risk of HIV infection among men, a claim that the vaccine’s developers say is unfounded.

The Namibian Ministry of Health said in a statement that following South Africa’s decision, they also suspended, with immediate effect, the use of the shots until the formula is listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization.

“The reason for the suspension of the vaccine is due to an overabundance of caution that men who received Sputnik V may be at higher risk of contracting HIV when exposed to it,” the ministry said.

Namibia had received a Serbian donation of 30,000 doses of Sputnik – of which less than 120 have been administered so far.

South Africa’s health product regulator on Monday said it would not approve the use of Sputnik based on previous studies that tested the safety of a modified form of adenovirus – a type of virus that causes respiratory infections – known as Ad5 and found in jabs.

The regulator said that two previous studies, one in South Africa and one in the United States, found an increased risk of HIV infection among men linked to the Ad5-vaccinated vaccine.

In both trials, “administration of an Ad5-vector vaccine was associated with increased susceptibility / acquisition of HIV in men,” the regulator said last week.

The Russian Gamaleya Center, which developed Sputnik V, says all allegations of a link between the vaccine and HIV are unfounded.

It states that clinical trials of more than 7,000 participants showed “there was no statistically significant increase in HIV-1 infection among recipients of adenovirus type 5 vector vaccine.”

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