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German institute claimed COVID-19 vaccine to be available soon, withdraws claim a day later

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI)—Germany’s leading infectious disease institute—said in a document last Wednesday that a first vaccine against COVID-19 could be available as early as autumn. However, they removed the document just a day later.

An agency spokeswoman said that the now removed paper, which was on the institute’s website, was an out-of-date version of a document being worked on by the agency. The error comes amid growing concerns in Germany over rising infections.

On Wednesday, the RKI released the document which claimed that a vaccine could be available as early this fall. But they also said that it would be dangerous at this point to trust that a vaccination from autumn 2020 can control the pandemic.

“The impact of any vaccine could be limited because of viral mutations or because first products to market may offer only short-term immunity,” they wrote.

While RKI has removed their optimistic claim off their website, Russia is going full steam ahead with their own COVID-19 vaccine—Sputnik V—after less than two months of human testing. The country has yet to complete its Phase 3 trial and already aim to start mass production in September. This is despite a majority of Russian doctors who would not feel comfortable being injected with the vaccine, due to the lack of sufficient data.

As for Malaysia’s plans for the Russian vaccine, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government will monitor Moscow’s progress and will study the development first. “…how effective are they? I believe the MOH (Ministry of Health) will conduct its own study. It’s still too early…” he added.

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