Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine will cost up to three times as much as western counterparts for African nations, The Financial Times reported Thursday, citing individuals familiar with the procurement process.
The African Union said last week it has secured 300 million Sputnik V doses over one-year period starting this May as Russia promotes it globally as a cheaper, easier-to-transport alternative to western-developed jabs.
The AU will pay $9.75 per dose for Sputnik V, according to the FT, meaning the two-dose jab will cost $19.50 per person in total.
That reportedly compares to $3 per dose for the 100 million AstraZeneca vaccines that the AU previously said it had secured. FT added that AU has also agreed on the purchase of the Indian-made Novavax vaccine for the same price tag.
“Our international price of just under $10 per dose is the same for all markets,” said the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which markets Sputnik V abroad and funded its development. The AU declined to comment on the pricing.
The AU also has agreements in place for two-dose vaccines from Pfizer, which the FT reports will cost $6.75 per dose, and single-dose vaccines from Johnson & Johnson that cost $10.
RDIF chief executive Kirill Dmitriyev echoed Africa’s disappointment with the slow global vaccine rollout, pointing to “tremendous double standards” as wealthier nations “are just buying everything for themselves.”
“It’s frankly unethical,” FT quoted Dmitriyev as saying.
Some 40 countries have so far authorized Sputnik V, which a peer-reviewed Russian study said earlier this month is 91.6% effective against Covid-19.