COVID-19: Putin orders mass vaccination in Russia

NEWS DIGEST – Russian President, Vladimir Putin on Wednesday issued an order for health authorities to begin providing mass vaccinations against the novel coronavirus to doctors and teachers.

Russia has already produced about 2 million doses of a state developed vaccine against the virus, Putin said in comments carried by state media.

“Let’s agree that next week you will begin the large-scale vaccination,’’ Putin told the Deputy Prime Minister in charge of health issues, Tatyana Golikova, via a video chat.

Russia was the first country to introduce a vaccine against the virus for widespread use, registering the Sputnik V vaccine in August.

The state producer has claimed the vaccine has demonstrated an efficacy rate higher than 90 per cent without significant side effects.

Putin has personally endorsed the vaccine, saying his daughter took it with no side effect worse than a slight, temporary fever.

The Kremlin’s spokesperson said earlier that Putin had not taken the vaccine himself because it was still undergoing a clinical trial.

Russia has recorded the world’s fourth-largest Coronavirus caseload, with more than 2.3 million cases, amid a surge of new infections in recent months.

dpa/NAN