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COVID-19 Vaccine: Russia Begins Nationwide Distribution of Sputnik V

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By Jonny Tickle

Russia has sent out the first batches of the world’s first registered coronavirus vaccine to all parts of its vast territory, as the government tests out the delivery system of the much-needed drug.

The vaccine is expected to be delivered on Monday, said Russia’s Health Minister Mikhail Murashko. “The first small batches have already been shipped,” Murashko said, explaining that the government is testing the supply chain to ensure a robust delivery system across the country’s 85 regions. As well as testing the efficacy and safety of the vaccine itself, the government believes it is paramount to ensure the efficient distribution to citizens, especially to those at high risk.

Russia’s homegrown Covid-19 vaccine is currently in the third and final stage of clinical trials, in which 40,000 Muscovites will take part. While three-quarters will receive the jab, another quarter will be given a placebo. On Wednesday, Moscow’s Deputy Mayor Anastasia Rakova announced that testing had begun, and over 35,000 residents had applied.

“Clinical trials have begun in Moscow,” Murashko said, adding that the ministry had also created “the world’s first mobile application” that allows participants to “report on their condition” throughout the lengthy trial period.

On August 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the country had registered the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine, named Sputnik V. It is being produced by Moscow’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology. The vaccine’s development process has been criticized by some Western countries for its supposedly unsafe rapid development and improper testing. However, earlier this month, the respected British medical journal The Lancet published the Russian Ministry of Health’s Sputnik V study, showing the vaccine to be 100 percent effective, producing antibodies in all 76 participants of early-stage trials.

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