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President Vladimir Putin has ordered a “full-scale” COVID-19 vaccination campaign starting late next week, with doctors and teachers ready to be first in line for a Russian-A designed vaccine that has not yet completed the advanced studies necessary to guarantee its efficacy and safety in line with established scientific protocols.
Russia promoted its vaccine developed in the country, Sputnik V, as the “world’s first registered COVID-19 vaccine” after the government gave it regulatory approval in early August.
Vladimir Putin has called for immunization with “large-scale” vaccines in Russia for next week. (SPUTNIK / AFP via Getty Images)

The Russian leader said at the time that one of his daughters was among the first recipients of the vaccine.

“This gives us the opportunity to start vaccination, if not massively, but on a large scale, and of course, as we agreed, first of the two risk groups: doctors and teachers,” Putin told government officials.

An injection of Russia’s experimental Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine is shown before use in Moscow, Russia. (AP)

He instructed Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova to “organize the work in such a way that large-scale vaccination begins at the end of next week.”

Ms Golikova said the vaccines will be voluntary and free, and that the government seeks to include other demographic groups in the vaccination campaign.

The two-shot Sputnik V vaccine It was developed by the Moscow-based Gamaleya Institute.

An advanced study among 40,000 volunteers was announced two weeks after the vaccine received government approval. The trial is still ongoing.

But the vaccine is already being offered to people in high-risk groups, such as medical workers, despite warnings from experts against its wider use before all the necessary tests are done. Several high-profile officials have said they were beaten.

Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said Wednesday that more than 100,000 people in Russia have received the injections.

A Russian medical worker prepares an injection of Russia’s experimental Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine for use in Moscow, Russia. (AP)

Kirill Dmitriyev, director of the Russian Direct Investment Fund that funded the development of Sputnik V, said that around 25,000 people have been vaccinated with both doses of the vaccine “as part of a clinical trial now.”

Dmitriyev said that outside of the trial, the vaccine was offered to “volunteers” among medical workers “because we wanted to protect our front-line staff first.”

Last month, the vaccine’s developers said interim analysis of the trial data showed it was 91.4 percent effective.

The conclusion was based on 39 infections among 18,794 study participants who received both doses of the vaccine or a placebo, which is a far smaller number of infections than Western pharmacists have observed when evaluating the effectiveness of their vaccines.

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Dmitriyev said Wednesday that the vaccine developers have applied to the European Medicines Agency for approval of Sputnik V for use in Europe and have submitted applications in other countries.

“We understand that it may take some time, but at the same time, you know, we have applied for approval in 40 different countries and we are working very closely with the regulators in all those countries,” Dmitriyev said.

Dmitriyev said last month that more than 1 billion doses of the vaccine were expected to be produced next year outside of Russia.

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, however, stressed on Wednesday that vaccinating Russians “will be the absolute priority.”

Dmitry Peskov
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) with spokesman Dmitry Peskov (L). (AP)

Russia has been hit by a rapid resurgence of the outbreak this fall, with a number of confirmed COVID-19 infections and deaths regularly reaching new highs and significantly exceeding those reported in the spring.

On Wednesday, Russia reported 589 deaths from coronavirus, a daily record number for the country.

The previous record of 569 deaths was recorded on Tuesday.

The government task force has recorded a total of 41,053 virus-related deaths since the start of the outbreak.

Russia’s total of more than 2.3 million confirmed cases is currently the fourth highest number of cases in the world. On Wednesday, authorities reported 25,345 new cases.


www.9news.com.au

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