Russia’s pharma industry is ready for a large-scale vaccination as the amount of doses of the pioneering anti-COVID-19 ‘Sputnik V’ vaccine already produced will reach two million in the coming days, Putin said in a teleconference on Wednesday.
“I’d ask you to organize the work in a way that would allow the start of large-scale vaccination by the end of next week,” the president told Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova.
The deputy PM said that she would report back when the government is ready to fulfil that task, but Putin responded by saying that he didn’t want a report, but an actual start of the vaccination.
The vaccination against COVID-19 will be voluntary, and Russian citizens will be getting the shots free of charge.
Earlier on Wednesday, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu told the president that four more medical centers had been built by the military to help combat coronavirus. They have already been handed over to the local authorities in southern Astrakhan Region and the cities of Pskov and Severomorsk. One such facility in Pskov is designed to treat children diagnosed with COVID-19 and is able to host up to 60 patients simultaneously.
Putin said that both military and civilian builders deserved “an excellent mark” for their work in the past months, as the construction of medical facilities had proceeded 24/7 and was concluded on time. The military has built a total of 29 medical centers across Russia since the start of the pandemic.
Putin also hailed Russian scientists, saying that “the production of Sputnik V, the world’s first registered vaccine against the coronavirus infection, is what allows us to begin the vaccination.”
Sputnik V received state approval in August, with the Phase-Three clinical trials ongoing. The latest data shows that more than 95 percent of the trial shots were effective against COVID-19. In mid-October, Russia also registered its second vaccine, EpiVacCorona.