Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday announced that Russia will start mass production of the worlds first covid-19 coronavirus vaccine. Putin also said Russia had been first in the world to approve a covid-19 coronavirus vaccine.
Putin’s announcement about the vaccine was met with caution from western scientists and the World Health Organization. Who said it still needed a rigorous safety review.
“The first batch of the covid-19 coronavirus vaccine developed by the Gamaleya research institute has been produced,”Russia President Vladimir Putin said.
Putin said the covid-19 coronavirus vaccine was safe and that his own daughters had already been inoculated. The clinical trials for the vaccine have not yet complete and final stage testing involving more than 2,000 people only started this week.
Western scientists were skeptical, with some warning that moving too quickly on a covid-19 coronavirus vaccine could be dangerous. However Putin denounced criticism as an attempt to undermine Moscow’s research.
Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine called “Sputnik V”
The Russian covid-19 coronavirus vaccine is called “Sputnik V” after the Soviet-era satellite that was the first launched into space in 1957. It was developed by the Gamaleya research institute for epidemiology and microbiology in Moscow in coordination with the Russian defence ministry.
The head of the institute, Alexander Gintsburg, told the Tass state news agency on Saturday that volunteers taking part in the final stage testing of the vaccine’s safety and efficacy would have two inoculations.
Russia has said that industrial production is expected from September and that it plans to manufacture 5 million doses per month by December or January.
Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said this week that the vaccine would first be made available to medics and would later be available to all Russians on a voluntary basis.
With more than 917,000 confirmed infections, Russia’s coronavirus caseload is currently fourth in the world after the United States, Brazil and India. The country has reported 15,400 deaths, with 92,000 people in hospital with the virus and 2,900 in intensive care, according to the health ministry.