Thousands of doctors, teachers and others in high-risk groups have signed up for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19_ vaccinations in Moscow starting Saturday, a precursor to a sweeping Russia-wide immunization effort.
The vaccinations come three days after President Vladimir Putin ordered the launch of a “large-scale” Covid-19 immunization campaign even though a Russian-designed vaccine has yet to complete the advanced studies needed to ensure its effectiveness and safety in line with established scientific protocols.
The Russian leader said n Wednesday that more than 2 million doses of the Sputnik V jab will be available in the next few days, allowing authorities to offer vaccinations to medical workers and teachers across the country starting late next week.
Moscow, which currently accounts for about a quarter of the country’s new daily infections, moved ahead of the curve, opening 70 vaccination facilities on Saturday. Doctors, teachers and municipal workers were invited to book a time to receive a jab, and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said that about 5,000 signed up in a few hours after the system began operating on Friday.
Russia boasted that Sputnik V was the world’s “first registered Covid-19 vaccine” after the government gave it regulatory approval in early August. The move drew criticism from international experts, who pointed out that the vaccine had only been tested on several dozen people at the time.
Putin has shrugged off doubts about it, saying in August that one of his daughters was among the early vaccine recipients. SOVEREIGNPH