British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Friday a reported Russian disinformation campaign to undermine COVID-19 vaccine trials was “reprehensible” at a time when countries should be coming together.
“We know that Russia has a track record in this area,” he told Sky News when asked about a Times newspaper report that there was a Russian campaign to undermine an Oxford University vaccine trial.
“Anyone trying to basically sabotage the efforts of those trying to develop a vaccine are deeply reprehensible, and it’s pretty unacceptable and unjustified in any circumstances.”
He was speaking after a Times report on a Russian disinformation campaign which the newspaper said was designed to undermine and spread fear about the Oxford University coronavirus vaccine.
Pictures, memes and video clips depicting the British-made vaccine as dangerous have reportedly been devised in Russia and middlemen are now seeking to “seed” the images on social media networks around the world.
After the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, announced on 11 August that the Russian vaccine had “passed all necessary tests”, there was a chorus of unease from scientists around the world. Many pointed out that no scientific data had been made public from early trials, and phase three trials of the vaccine had not even started.