HOUSTON — This morning the world woke up to a triumphant Russian president. Vladimir Putin declared the race to register the first COVID-19 vaccine was over.
Putin said Russia's vaccine is effective, forms immunity and is ready to be rolled out.
KHOU 11 News asked vaccine expert Dr. Peter Hotez if he would take this vaccine himself.
"No, not at all," Hotez said. "Not until I see published data. It would be reckless to think about taking that vaccine."
Hotez and his team are working on their own COVID-19 vaccine. He and global health officials are skeptical of Russia's big news.
"We just don't know a lot about it," said Hotez.
Russia released a video animation that brands the vaccine "Sputnik 5." Russia will begin administering the vaccine to its population despite failing to complete mass phase 3 human trials first. Putin says even his own daughter has been injected with the vaccine.
Hotez said Russia needs to release the scientific safety data to back all this up.
"I don't see how the Russians could turn this around that quickly to have done all of those steps," Hotez said. "I'm quite concerned as to what they're doing."
Hotez hopes this doesn't put pressure on the multiple COVID-19 vaccines undergoing phase three trials to cut corners. So far middle eastern and Latin American countries expressed interest in the Russian vaccine. Hotez fears the distribution of this COVID-19 vaccine with potential safety flaws could hurt other vaccine in development.
"That creates a lot of risk," Hotez said. "If those vaccines aren't safe or effective it could destroy the reputation of all the COVID-19 vaccines and exacerbate a problem we're seeing already that people are distrustful of COVID-19 vaccines."
The World Health Organization says it is in contact with Russian health authorities about the vaccine and possible next steps.