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Business News/ News / World/  Covid-19 vaccine: Russia expects to vaccinate 2 mn people in Dec, says report
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Covid-19 vaccine: Russia expects to vaccinate 2 mn people in Dec, says report

The news comes just two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the start of a 'large-scale' COVID-19 vaccination by late next week, with doctors and teachers to be the first in line to receive the Sputnik V shots
  • Putin had earlier said that more than 2 mn doses of Sputnik V jab 'has been produced or will be produced in the next few days'
  • Russian medical worker administers a shot of Russia's experimental Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in Moscow (AP)Premium
    Russian medical worker administers a shot of Russia's experimental Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in Moscow (AP)

    The head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Kirill Dmitriev on Friday said in an interview with the BBC that Russia expects to give about 2 million people coronavirus vaccinations in December.

    “We expect to vaccinate around 2 million people in December," he said.

    The news comes just two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the start of a “large-scale" COVID-19 vaccination by late next week, with doctors and teachers to be the first in line to receive the Sputnik V shots.

    Sputnik V has been touted in Russia as the world’s “first registered COVID-19 vaccine" after it received regulatory approval in early August.

    Putin said that more than 2 million doses of the Sputnik V jab “has been produced or will be produced in the next few days."

    “This gives us the opportunity to start if not mass, but large-scale vaccination, of course, as we agreed, first of all of the two risk groups — doctors and teachers," Putin told government officials. He tasked Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova to “organize the work in such a way so that large-scale vaccination starts by the end of next week."

    The two-shot Sputnik V vaccine 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 risk groups — such as medical workers — despite expert warnings against its wider use before it completes all the necessary testing. Several high-profile officials have said they have already taken it too.

    Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said Wednesday that more than 100,000 people in Russia have been given the shots.

    Earlier this month, developers of the vaccine said interim analysis of the trial data showed it was 91.4% effective. The conclusion was based on 39 infections among 18,794 study participants that received both doses of either the vaccine or the placebo, which is a much lower number of infections than Western drugmakers looked at when assessing the effectiveness of their vaccines.

    Meanwhile, Russia reported 27,403 new coronavirus cases on Friday, dropping back from the record high hit on Thursday.

    More than 20,000 people in Moscow had received the Sputnik V injection, of whom 273 had fallen ill with COVID-19, Moscow Deputy Mayor Anastasia Rakova was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

    Moreover, Moscow launched an online service today for people to book appointments to be vaccinated.

    Russia has resisted imposing lockdowns during the second wave of the virus, preferring targeted regional curbs.

    With 2,402,949 infections, Russia only fewer COVID-19 cases only than the United States, India and Brazil. It has recorded 42,176 deaths related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

    With input from agencies

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    Published: 04 Dec 2020, 09:13 PM IST
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