Foreign buyers left waiting for Russia to fulfil Sputnik-V vaccine orders

Earlier this year, the head of the state-run Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) - responsible for marketing the vaccine abroad - promised that Russia had the "capacity to provide the vaccine to 700 million people outside Russia" in 2021.

Scores of countries enlisted Russia's help through deals to buy millions of doses of Sputnik V, unveiled last year as the world's first Covid jab.

Yet as of July, many countries, including developing nations, have reported receiving only a fraction of the doses for which they've paid.

Russia has championed Sputnik V as part of its "vaccine diplomacy" with developing nations. Criticism of the vaccine in the West is dismissed as "propaganda".

Tehran, for example, ordered 60 million doses, with five million arriving in a "first phase" of the agreement with Russia.

But by the end of June, the total number of Sputnik doses delivered to Iran was just 920,000. The figure now stands at around two million.

Tehran has subsequently received some five million doses of vaccines from other countries, including China.

Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, India, and Mexico are all waiting for vaccines they have ordered, as are 11 African Union states.

In Russia itself, only 15% of the population had received a first-jab by the end of June of this year.

The Kremlin has pledged this week that it would resolve difficulties with its overseas customers, but that its immediate priority was to satisfy domestic demand, suggesting that Russia's overseas clients are in for a long wait.

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