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Belarus becomes first foreign country to register Russian coronavirus vaccine

Belarus has become the first foreign country to register Russia’s “Sputnik V” coronavirus vaccine, announced the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) on Monday, December 21. 

In Belarus, “in partnership with the RDIF, work is underway for localizing production of the vaccine,” the fund said in its press release.

According to Belarusian Health Minister Dmitry Pinevich (Dzmitry Pinevich), immunization with the Russian vaccine is set to begin in Belarus in January (presumably 2021). 

During the first stage of the roll out, free vaccination will be made available to “medical professionals, teachers, and workers in trade and other spheres” who are “forced to interact with a large number of people,” the Belarusian Health Ministry specified in a statement.

According to the RDIF, volunteers in Belarus have been getting vaccinated with Sputnik V since October 1. One hundred people took part in drug trials, which were the first foreign clinical studies of the vaccine, the fund explained.

Sputnik V was developed at Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute, which signed a memorandum of cooperation with the British-Swedish multinational company AstraZeneca on December 21. This will involve joint clinical trials of a combination coronavirus drug made up of Sputnik V and AstraZeneca’s AZD1222.

The developers behind Sputnik V have deemed it 91.4 percent effective, while AstraZeneca has assessed its drug’s efficacy at 70 percent.

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