Putin Says Russia Has Registered A Coronavirus Vaccine, His Daughter Inoculated, Amid Skepticism
By RFE/RL August 11, 2020
President Vladimir Putin said a coronavirus vaccine developed in Russia has been approved for use, despite not undergoing clinical tests and no data being made public.
Putin made the announcement at a government meeting on August 11, saying the vaccine had proven to be "efficient" during initial tests and could provide lasting immunity from the coronavirus.
More than 100 possible vaccines are being developed around the world, and at least four are in final Phase 3 of testing in human trials.
Phase 3 trials usually involve thousands of people and last for months, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Russia is the first country to register a coronavirus vaccine. But scientists within Russia and abroad have voiced skepticism, questioning the decision to register the vaccine before Phase 3 trials have been completed.
The WHO last week urged Russia to follow established guidelines and go "through all the stages" necessary to develop a safe vaccine.
But Putin insists that the Russian vaccine underwent the necessary tests, adding that one of his two daughters had received it and was feeling well.
"I hope that we will be able to begin mass production in the near future, which is important," Putin said, stressing that inoculation "should be done on a strictly voluntary basis."
Russia's government has said that health workers, teachers, and people in other high-risk categories will be the first to be offered the vaccine.
Russia has nearly 860,000 registered cases of COVID-19 -- the fourth-highest number in the world -- and more than 14,300 deaths, according to a global tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.
With reporting by Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa, and Interfax
Copyright (c) 2020. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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