Cosmonauts not ready to try Russia’s virus vaccine

Agence France-Presse

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Cosmonauts not ready to try Russia’s virus vaccine

Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov, member of the International Space Station (ISS) expedition 64, attends his final exam at the Gagarin Cosmonauts' Training Centre in Star City outside Moscow on September 23, 2020. - Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Russian space agency Roscosmos and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins are preparing for the launch onboard the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft from the Russian-leased Kazakh Baikonur cosmodrome on October 14. (Photo by Andrey SHELEPIN / Russian Space Agency Roscosmos / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / Russian space agency Roscosmos / Andrey SHELEPIN " - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

AFP PHOTO / Russian space agency Roscosmos / Andrey SHELEPIN

'I'd personally say that I would not get vaccinated because I tread very carefully on this issue,' says Russian cosmonaut Sergei Ryzhikov

Russian cosmonauts set to blast off for the International Space Station said on Thursday, September 25, it was too early to get a coronavirus vaccine touted by President Vladimir Putin.

“I’d personally say that I would not get vaccinated because I tread very carefully on this issue,” said Sergei Ryzhikov, the 46-year-old leader of the next expedition to the ISS in October.

He and other cosmonauts wore face masks at the Star City training center outside Moscow during an online news conference.

The cosmonaut’s comments came after Putin touted Russia’s coronavirus vaccine developed in record time and named “Sputnik V” after the Soviet-era satellite that was the first launched into space in 1957.

“As soon as the vaccine is tried and tested and proves its reliability then a decision will be taken to recommend that cosmonauts get vaccinated,” said fellow cosmonaut, 37-year-old Sergei Kud-Sverchkov.

He said the decision was down to the doctors in charge of cosmonauts’ healthcare including immunization.

Russia has raised concerns among Western scientists by announcing that its vaccine had received approval before full clinical trials have been completed.

While the vaccine showed promising results in early trials, Russia has not yet completed the final phase of clinical testing, in which large numbers of people receive either the vaccine or a placebo.

Nevertheless, Russia has already vaccinated high-profile officials including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin. Putin has said that one of his daughters was vaccinated, suffering only a mild reaction.

Astronauts routinely undergo a quarantine period before blasting off to space.

“The International Space Station is the safest place now,” Ryzhikov added.

“We don’t have to be vaccinated because we strictly follow all sanitary rules.” –

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