Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly ordered authorities to begin mass vaccinations against the coronavirus in the country from next week. Russia was the first country to first country to officially roll out a vaccine for COVID-19 - Sputnik V.
The decision comes as Russia recorded 589 new deaths on a day. News agency Reuters quoted Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova that large-scale vaccinations on voluntary basis will began across the country soon.
According to Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko, more than 10,000 people have already been vaccinated with Sputnik V. Russia has already offered US-based AstraZeneca to mix its COVID-19 vaccine with Sputnik V to increase its efficacy. Meanwhile, Dr Reddy's Laboratories is conducting trials for the experimental jab in India. Russia has also presented its indigenous vaccine at the United Nations.
"Let's agree on this - you will not report to me next week, but you will start mass vaccination... let's get to work already," Putin reportedly told Deputy Prime Minister Golikova.
"I would ask you to organise the work so that by the end of next week we will have started this large-scale vaccination," the Russian President further said.
Sputnik V has been developed by Russia's Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology was registered by the Ministry of Health of Russia on August 11 this year, making it the world's first registered vaccine (based on the human adenoviral vector platform) against the pandemic.
The vaccine is still undergoing last stage of human trials; Russia, however, is confident of its efficacy. Recently, Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) announced the second interim results of its vaccine candidate's clinical trial data, which showed 91.4 per cent efficacy on day 28 after the first dose; and efficacy over 95 per cent on 42 days after the first dose. As of now, there are 40,000 volunteers partaking in Phase 3 trials of the virus, of which over 22,000 have already been vaccinated with the first dose, and over 19,000 have received both doses.