Three health care workers in Siberia tested positive for COVID-19 after receiving the Russian vaccine Sputnik V.
Officials in the Altai region said the three were likely infected with the virus in the hours before the vaccine was administered, Amic.ru reported.
Irina Pereladova, chief epidemiologist of the Altai region, told the website that there is no guarantee that a person will not fall ill after a single vaccination, as they may already have the virus but be in the incubation period before symptoms appear.
The three physicians had tested negative for viral antibodies the day before the first dose of vaccine was administered. It is not a standard procedure for people to be tested for the virus before the vaccine is administered, Pereladova said.
“It is just that we have decided to test our Altai doctors before vaccination,” she told Amic.ru. “In fact, a pure experiment took place.”
According to the Moscow Times, officials initially suggested that the three workers received a placebo instead of the live vaccine.
In total, 42 health workers in the Altai region have received the Spudnik V vaccine since Russia launched a campaign to vaccinate front line workers. They received the first dose at the end of September and the second dose 21 days later, as required by the vaccination protocol.
All three have since recovered, Amic.ru reported. It was said that by November 15, over 1,500 additional doses of the vaccine would be sent to the Altai region for the front line workers there.
The Russian Sputnik V vaccine was the first COVID-19 vaccine to be launched. The Phase 3 clinical trial to test its efficacy has not yet been completed, although the Ministry of Health recently announced initial results showing that the vaccine against COVID-19 is over 90 percent effective. This claim came shortly after Pfizer and BioNTech stated that their vaccine is more than 90 percent effective.
In a press release, the Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology and the Russian direct investment fund developing Sputnik V stated that the vaccine is 92 percent effective. This calculation was based on 20 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the 40,000 people who participated in the clinical trial.
The studies examined the efficacy of 16,000 people who received two doses of the vaccine or placebo.
“Separately, the vaccine was administered for the first time in September to a group of volunteers from the ‘red zones’ of Russian hospitals,” the statement said. “The observation of an additional 10,000 vaccinated volunteers, representing medical professionals and other high-risk groups under civilian use of the vaccine from clinical trials, also confirmed the effectiveness of the vaccine at over 90 percent.
Data from the study were not made available, but will be published in a scientific journal as soon as the Phase 3 study is completed, the press release said.