Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed on Tuesday that Russia had become the first country in the world to approve a COVID-19 vaccine, a move that has been praised by the government, confirming the scientific prowess of the nation.
The vaccine still needs to complete the final trials, with there being concerns by experts regarding the speed of the approval, with it starting human testing just less than two months ago.
Russia business conglomerate Sistema has stated that by the end of the year, the vaccine will be put into mass production.
Over the coming weeks, Russian health workers that are currently treating patients that are infected with COVID-19, will be given the chance to volunteer to be vaccinated.
This regulatory approval will allow several people from Russia to be vaccinated, with authorities hoping that it can allow the economy to recover and return to full capacity, after months of struggles.
Kirill Dmitriev, the head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, praised the development of the vaccine, calling it a “Sputnik moment”, comparing it to the Soviet Union’s launch of the world’s first ever satellite, the Sputnik 1.
Dmitriev said that the vaccine will be marketed as ‘Sputnik V’ in foreign markets.
Some scientists have shown their concerns at the speed at which Russia has moved, with the government approving a vaccine way before the final stages of the trials are concluded. Plenty feel that Russia is putting national prestige before the safety of its people.
Putin completely dismissed these concerns during a government meeting on state television, claiming that the vaccine, which has been developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute, is safe and that it has also been administered to one of his own daughters.
He stated that “it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks”.
Putin also said that mass production will hopefully be starting soon.