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Finnish researchers: Sputnik vaccine could have the same rare blood clot issue as AstraZeneca

Finland had considered obtaining Sputnik supplies. 

Sairaanhoitaja antoi naiselle koronavirusrokotteen.
Finland has considered procuring Sputnik vaccine doses. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle

Two Finnish researchers say it is possible that Russia's adenovirus vaccine could have similar issues to AstraZeneca's.

One of Finland's leading vaccine researchers, Emeritus Professor Timo Vesikari, wrote an op-ed in Tampere paper Aamulehti suggesting it would not be a good idea to buy the Sputnik vaccine from Russia.

The Family and Basic Services Minister Krista Kiuru (SDP) had said in parliament that Finland could start talks with Russia about acquiring doses of Sputnik.

According to Vesikari, AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson use the same Adenovirus vector mechanism as Sputnik.

"If these two cause problems with blood clotting, then surely Sputnik V will do the same," wrote Vesikari.

We asked THL expert Hanna Nohynek about Finland's vaccination programme in this week's episode of the All Points North podcast. You can listen to the full podcast using the embedded player here or via Yle Areena, Spotify, Apple Podcasts or your usual podcast player using the RSS feed.

Article continues after audio.

Audio: Yle News

Vesikari also cited data published in medical journal The Lancet, which described four blood clotting events among the vaccinated group during the Sputnik trial, and none in the group given a placebo.

Vesikari suggests that it would be worth looking at alternatives to adenovirus vaccines, such as the inactivated coronavirus vaccines from China and the nanoparticle vaccines made by Novavax.

Vesikari's views were backed up by Mika Ramet, who heads up Finland's vaccine research centre.

"It's difficult to see how you can exclude the possibility of rare side effects," said Ramet. "Observing that kind of rare side effect requires well-functioning health registers, which flagged up the AstraZeneca side effects only in EU countries and in Britain."

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