Sputnik V: Vladimir Putin tells officials to start 'large-scale' vaccinations against COVID-19 by next week

The Russian president's announcement came the same day Britain approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for a rollout starting next week

Agence France-Presse December 02, 2020 21:03:14 IST
Sputnik V: Vladimir Putin tells officials to start 'large-scale' vaccinations against COVID-19 by next week

File image of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin told health officials Wednesday to start widespread vaccinations next week, adding that the country had produced close to two million doses of its Sputnik V vaccine.

The announcement came the same day Britain approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for a rollout starting next week.

Last week Russia announced that interim test results showed the Sputnik V vaccine was 95 percent effective, a higher efficacy than its international competitors.

Sputnik V, named after the Soviet-era satellite, is in its third and final stage of clinical trials involving some 40,000 volunteers.

"I would ask you to organise the work so that by the end of next week we will have started this large-scale vaccination," Putin said, speaking in a video conference call with Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova, who is leading the coronavirus task force.

The president noted that teachers and medics will be the first to receive the jab.

"More than two million doses have been produced or will be produced in the next few days," Putin added.

The Sputnik V vaccine uses two different human adenovirus vectors and is administered in two doses with a 21-day gap.

The vaccine will be free to all Russian citizens and inoculation will be voluntary.

Last week Russia's defence ministry announced that a mass vaccination campaign has been rolled out in the army, aiming to inoculate over 400,000 servicemen, some 80,000 of them by the end of the year.

Russia has the fourth-highest virus caseload in the world, with a total of 2.3 million registered cases and over 41,000 fatalities.

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