Moscow — Russian President Vladimir Putin says a coronavirus vaccine developed in the country has been registered for use and one of his daughters has already been inoculated.
Speaking at a government meeting on state television Tuesday, Putin emphasized that the vaccine has proven efficient during tests and offers a lasting immunity from the coronavirus.
“I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks,” the Reuters news agency quotes him as saying.
He said one of his two daughters has received a shot of the vaccine and is feeling well. “In this sense, she took part in the experiment,” he observed.
Putin added that it’s important to start mass production of the vaccine as soon as possible
Russian authorities have said medical workers, teachers and other risk groups will be the first to be inoculated.
Russia is the first country to register a coronavirus vaccine.
Many scientists there and abroad have been skeptical, however, questioning the decision to register it before Phase 3 trials that normally last for months and involve thousands of people.
Russia’s rapid pace “highlights its determination to win the global race” for a vaccine but “has stirred concerns that it may be putting national prestige before science and safety,” Reuters points out.
The vaccine was developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute after less than two months of human testing, Reuters reports.
Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the Direct Investment Fund involved in the development, has defended Russia’s vaccine, saying it was based on years of research for the Ebola and MERS vaccines.
“No corners have been cut,” Dmitriev told reporters Tuesday, according to CBS News’ Alexandra Odynova. “Russian science is more advanced in this (area) than many other nations,” he said.
Dmitriev said he and his family members had taken part in the trials and were vaccinated. He said they haven’t had any significant side effects.
Dmitriev revealed Moscow has named the coronavirus vaccine “Sputnik V,” after the Soviet satellite.
He said Phase 3 trials would start Wednesday, industrial output was expected to start in September and that 20 nations have pre-ordered more than 1 billion doses.
Speaking to reporters last week, World Health Organization spokesperson Christian Lindmeier warned that vaccines should go through all stages of testing before being licensed.
The Association of Clinical Trials Organizations has also voiced concerns that Russia’s ambition to allow civilian use of a coronavirus vaccine before the completion of clinical trials could put people at risk.