Russia isn’t a nation well known for their safety concerns. In fact, one could say that the Ruskies are some of the least trustworthy global citizens when it comes to disclosing news that doesn’t paint them in a great light.
The only two nations that give them a run for their money are China and North Korea, and that’s not the sort of company that anyone strives to keep.
So when Vladimir Putin announced that Russia was rolling out the world’s first coronavirus vaccine, the world was skeptical.
It was this skepticism that drew a harsh response from Moscow.
Russia has dismissed mounting international concern over the safety of its locally developed Covid-19 vaccine as “absolutely groundless”.
On Tuesday, it said a vaccine had been given regulatory approval after less than two months of testing on humans.
But experts were quick to raise concerns about the speed of Russia’s work, and a growing list of countries have expressed scepticism.
Scientists in Germany, France, Spain and the US have all urged caution.
The Russians attempted to play off the concerns as stemming from some sort of jealousy.
“It seems our foreign colleagues are sensing the specific competitive advantages of the Russian drug and are trying to express opinions that… are absolutely groundless,” Russia’s Health Minister Mikhail Murashko told the Interfax news agency on Wednesday.
But distrust of Russia’s scientific community has been exacerbated several times over the years, not the least of which occurred during 1986’s Chernobyl disaster and the ensuing coverup.