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Russia first to approve a COVID-19 vaccine, though ahead of conclusion of trials

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Russia has become the first country in the world to approve a vaccine against COVID-19.

Mr Putin announced the regulatory approval of a vaccine produced by the Gamaleya Institute in Moscow on Tuesday, with the President claiming that trials of the vaccine have shown it to be safe and effective.

Trials of the vaccine on humans have been ongoing for less than two months. Officials in Moscow have described the speed at which the vaccine has been approved as evidence of the country's scientific expertise, though concerns have been raised elsewhere that the relatively short amount of time taken to test the vaccine may mean that its safety and effectiveness cannot be guaranteed. 

Speaking at a broadcast meeting, President Putin said;

“I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks,”

Mr Putin also said that the vaccine had been administered to one of his daughters. It is thought the country will start mass-producing the vaccine in the near future.

Putin has said that taking the vaccination in Russia should only be voluntary.

The approval of the vaccine comes ahead of the conclusion of larger trials of it, usually known as Phase III trials. These trials would usually be completed before a vaccine receives regulatory approval. 

Russia has the fourth-highest amount of recorded cases of the virus in the world and more than 15,000 are recorded to have died from the virus in the country.

 

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