Russia likely to start COVID-19 vaccine distribution for public from this week

Almost a month after President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia has successfully registered a coronavirus vaccine, the Sputnik-V vaccine will likely be made available to the general public from this week.

The vaccine which was launched by President Putin on August 11 will be released for wider use after permission from Russia’s Healthcare Ministry.

It was developed by the Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology, alongside the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and was reportedly the first coronavirus vaccine candidate across the world.

The associate member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Denis Logunov was quoted as saying by the Russian news agency TASS, “Its examination is to begin within days. Also, within days we are to obtain permission. There is a certain procedure of authorizing a batch for civilian use. It must pass the quality check of the medical watchdog Roszdravnadzor.”

“Within days, between September 10 and 13, we are to obtain permission to release a batch of the vaccine for civilian use. Respectively, from that moment on the population will begin to be vaccinated,” added Logunov.

“The vaccine’s registration allows for vaccinating the whole population, but the high-risk groups will come first. There are no restrictions as far as others are concerned, but the Health Ministry has set a task of protecting the risk groups in the first place,” said Logunov.

According to the results published by The Lancet Medical Journal, Sputnik-V has recorded another progress recently. The vaccine has been successful in generating antibody responses in all participants in early-stage trials.

The Lancet reported that the results of the two trials, conducted in June-July this year that involved 76 participants, showed 100% of participants developing antibodies to COVID-19 and no serious side effects.

“The two 42-day trials – including 38 healthy adults each – did not find any serious adverse effects among participants, and confirmed that the vaccine candidates elicit an antibody response,” The Lancet said.

“Large, long-term trials including a placebo comparison and further monitoring are needed to establish the long-term safety and effectiveness of the vaccine for preventing COVID-19 infection,” it said.

Earlier on August 11, President Putin had revealed that one of his daughters had been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Sputnik quoted Putin as saying, “In this sense, she took part in the experiment. After the first vaccination, she had a body temperature of 38 degrees Celsius, while the following day it was slightly over 37 degrees Celsius, that’s it. After the second injection, the second vaccination, her temperature also rose a little, and then everything cleared up, she feels good and the [antibody] titers are high.”

Notably, the vaccine Sputnik-V is named after Russia’s first satellite Sputnik, which was launched in 1957.

Meanwhile, Russia’s COVID-19 tally has increased to 10,27,334, as per the Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center on Monday (September 7, 2020).