Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Russian Cosmonauts to Receive Sputnik Virus Jab

Sputnik V is named after a Soviet-era satellite. Roscosmos

The Russian space agency said on Wednesday it planned to offer the Sputnik coronavirus vaccine to cosmonauts but insisted that the vaccination would be done on a voluntary basis.

Last week Russia launched its mass vaccination program using Sputnik V, which has been named after a Soviet-era satellite. Developers say it is 95 percent effective based on interim trial results.

Vaccination centers opened their doors in Moscow, initially offering the vaccine to people in risk groups, including medics and teachers.

While some Russian cosmonauts initially said they did not plan to get vaccinated, a Roscosmos spokesman told AFP on Wednesday that members of the country's space program will be inoculated "on a voluntary basis only."

"Members of the cosmonaut corps and employees of the Cosmonaut Training Center will be among the first to get vaccinated," Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin said on Tuesday, in a statement released by the Russian Direct Investment Fund that has funded the development of the vaccine.

Sputnik V "will play an important role in ensuring the biological safety of the Russian space program," Health Minister Mikhail Murashko added in the same statement.

Despite the start of Russia's vaccination campaign, Sputnik V is yet to complete its third and final phase of trials involving some 40,000 volunteers.

The vaccination of the next crew to travel to the International Space Station (ISS) "has not yet been decided" however, Roscosmos said, adding that the decision will be made by the Russian Federal Medical-Biological Agency.

Cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky, Pyotr Dubrov and Sergei Korsakov are due to depart to the ISS from the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan in April, 2021.

In September, Russian cosmonauts currently on the ISS Sergei Ryzhikov and Sergei Kud-Sverchkov said that they did not intend to be vaccinated against Covid-19 because it was too early to get a vaccine touted by President Vladimir Putin.

"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, Kud-Sverchkov at the time.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more