Russia Takes the Lead, Begins Mass Deliveries of Coronavirus Vaccine This Month.
Russia plans to begin the first mass deliveries of her novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine this September, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko has said.
Russia has registered the Sputnik V adenoviral vector-based vaccine and is touting it as the world’s first despite it not having undergone large-scale trials to prove its safety and effectiveness.
Russia is one of several countries racing to develop a proven vaccine against the disease that has infected 25.4 million and killed more than 850,000 people worldwide.
“First deliveries in large quantities will begin in September,” Murashko was quoted as saying by the state-run TASS news agency.
MoscowTimes has also reported that more than 20 countries have made requests to purchase over one billion doses of Russia’s Sputnik V Coronavirus vaccine, despite safety concerns, according to Russia’s sovereign wealth fund which is bankrolling the project.
Another report has it that the Presidents of Belarus and Russia have agreed that Belarus would be the first country to receive Russia’s coronavirus vaccine, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko disclosed this as he talked to the staff of the Savushkin-Orsha company on August 28.
The health minister said production was underway in parallel with post-registration monitoring of the vaccine’s effectiveness.
A mass vaccination campaign would begin among Russian volunteers in October, a month after industrial production is expected to launch, according to the head of the national sovereign fund paying for the vaccination project.
“The vaccine will be first and foremost shipped to health workers and teachers,” Murashko said, adding that the vaccination would be “completely voluntary.”
Some 2,500 out of 40,000 volunteers have been recruited for Phase 3 trials of the vaccine so far, he said.
“Several more vaccines are going through registration. We’ll reach maximum capacities in November-December,” Murashko said.
Western scientists have raised concerns over the speed of development of Russian vaccines, suggesting that researchers might be cutting corners after coming under pressure from the authorities to deliver.
Russia has dismissed the criticism as an attempt to undermine its research.
Sputnik V is expected to enter civilian circulation on January 1, 2021, according to a registration certificate on the Russian Health Ministry’s website.
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