Moscow – Russian President Vladimir Putin says athe locally developed vaccine has been registered for use and one of his daughters has already been vaccinated.
Speaking at a government meeting Tuesday on state television, Putin stressed that the vaccine has proven effective during tests and offers a stable immunity to the coronavirus.
“I know he works quite effectively, forms strong immunity and I repeat, he has passed all the necessary checks,” Reuters news agency quoted him as saying.
He said one of his two daughters has received a stroke of the vaccine and is feeling well. “In that sense, she participated in the experiment,”; he observed.
Putin added that it is important to start mass production of the vaccine as soon as possible
Russian authorities have said medical workers, teachers and other at-risk groups will be the first to be vaccinated.
Russia is the first country to register a coronavirus vaccine.
Many scientists there and abroad have been skeptical, however, questioning the decision to record it ahead of phase 3 evidence that usually lasts months and involves thousands of people.
Russia’s rapid pace “underscores its determination to win the global race” for a vaccine, but “has raised concerns that it may be putting national prestige ahead of science and security,” Reuters notes.
The vaccine was developed by the Gamaleya Institute in Moscow after less than two months of human testing, reports Reuters.
Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Direct Investment Fund involved in the development, has defended Russia’s vaccine, saying it was based on old studies on Ebola and MERS vaccines.
“No corner has been cut,” Dmitriev told reporters Tuesday, according to CBS News’ Alexandra Odynova. “Russian science is more advanced in this (area) than many other nations,” he said.
Dmitriev said he and his family members had attended trials and had been vaccinated. He said they did not have any significant side effects.
Dmitriev revealed that Moscow had named the “Sputnik V” coronavirus vaccine after the Soviet satellite.
He said phase 3 trials would begin on Wednesday, industrial production is expected to begin in September and that 20 nations have predetermined more than 1 billion doses.
Speaking to reporters last week, World Health Organization spokesman Christian Lindmeier warned that vaccines must pass all stages of testing before they can be licensed.
The Association of Clinical Trial Organizations has also expressed concerns that Russia’s ambition to allow civilian use of a coronavirus vaccine before the end of clinical trials could put people at risk.