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Putin orders start of large-scale coronavirus vaccination in Russia ‘next week’

Source: RIA Novosti

Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova to start large-scale coronavirus vaccination in Russia next week, reports RIA Novosti. 

During a video conference on Wednesday, December 2, Putin told Golikova “Let’s […] take this first step”:

 I know that more than two million doses have already been produced here or will be produced in the next few days, production of the world’s first registered vaccine against the coronavirus infection, “Sputnik V,” will reach this level. This gives us the opportunity to start if not mass, then large-scale vaccination. And, of course, as we agreed, first and foremost two high-risk groups — doctors and teacher.

Golikova, in turn, said that Russia has the opportunity to “start large-scale vaccination in December,” adding that an assessment of priority demographics is already underway.

The scientists who created Sputnik V claimed to be the first in the world to develop and register a vaccine against the coronavirus. In September, the vaccine’s developers from the Gamaleya Research Institute published the results of their initial trials in the scientific journal The Lancet. After the publication, a group of international scientists pointed out statistical anomalies found in the article and questioned the data’s authenticity. The Russian researchers refuted their doubts.

The Sputnik V vaccine is currently undergoing Phase III clinical trials, involving 40,000 volunteers. On November 24, the researchers developing the vaccine reported that it has shown more than 95 percent effectiveness.

Russia has also registered a second coronavirus vaccine, “EpiVakKorona,” developed by the Vector Research Center. It is currently in the midst of Phase III clinical trials, as well.

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