Moscow opens dozens of coronavirus vaccination centers

Moscow (AP) – Thousands of high-risk doctors, teachers and others have applied for COVID-19 vaccinations in Moscow since Saturday, the forerunner of a nationwide immunization effort.

Vaccinations are given three days after President Vladimir Putin ordered the launch of a “large-scale” COVID-19 immunization campaign, despite the fact that a Russian-made vaccine has yet to complete the advanced studies needed to ensure its effectiveness and safety, in line with established scientific principles. . protocols.

The Russian leader said on Wednesday that more than 2 million doses of Sputnik V jab will be available in the coming days, allowing authorities to start health workers and teachers across the country by the end of next week.

Moscow, which currently accounts for about a quarter of the country’s new daily infection, went ahead of the curve, opening 70 vaccination facilities on Saturday. Doctors, teachers and municipal workers were asked to make time to receive the jab, and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said some 5,000 had applied within a few hours after the system went live on Friday.

Russia boasted that Sputnik V was the world’s “first registered COVID-19 vaccine” after the government gave it official approval in early August. The move sparked criticism from international experts who pointed out that the vaccine was only tested on dozens of people at the time.

Putin dropped doubts about it and said in August that one of his daughters was among the early vaccinators.

In recent months, Sputnik V has been offered to health workers and teachers, even when it was still in the midst of advanced studies. Several top officials said they also received the shocks, and earlier in the week the Russian army began vaccinating the crews of the naval ships leaving for the mission.

Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Wednesday that more than 100,000 people have already been shot in Russia.

The free vaccine is offered to people between the ages of 18 and 60 who do not suffer from chronic diseases and are not pregnant or breastfeeding.

The two-shot Sputnik V was developed by the Moscow-based Gamaleya Institute. Two weeks after the vaccine received government approval, an advanced study involving 40,000 volunteers was announced, and it is still ongoing.

Last month, vaccine developers said an interim analysis of the study data showed that it was 91.4% effective. The conclusion was based on 39 infections among 18,794 study participants who received both vaccines or placebo, a much lower number of infections than those studied by Western drug manufacturers when evaluating the effectiveness of their vaccines. Two other vaccines planned by Russia are also being tested.

On Wednesday, Britain was the first Western country to authorize the use of a coronavirus vaccine developed by US pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer and German BioNTech.

Russia has been revived by the epidemic that erupted in the fall, with the number of new infections exceeding the level recorded in the early stages of the pandemic, but authorities have so far refrained from the strict closure introduced in the spring.

On Saturday, Russia reported a new record high for daily infections: 28,782, including 7,993 in Moscow. A government task force has registered a total of 42,684 virus deaths since the outbreak began.

Russia’s total of more than 2.4 million confirmed cases are currently the world’s fourth-largest case behind the United States, India and Brazil.


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