Russia plans to begin mass vaccinations in October

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Speaking to reporters, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said that the vaccination will be free of charge, and doctors and teachers would be the first to be vaccinated, local media reported. — Courtesy photo
Speaking to reporters, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said that the vaccination will be free of charge, and doctors and teachers would be the first to be vaccinated, local media reported. — Courtesy photo

MOSCOW — Russia is gearing up to begin mass vaccination campaign against coronavirus from October, the country's health minister said on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said that the vaccination will be free of charge, and doctors and teachers would be the first to be vaccinated, local media reported.

According to Murashko, people will be immunized with the first Russian vaccine developed by the Gamaleya National Research Centre, which is currently in the process of getting state registration.

However, clinical trials of the vaccine will continue along with its production and use in order to improve it as more details emerge, the minister was quoted as saying.

However, some experts are concerned about Russia's fast-track approach.

On Friday, the leading infectious disease expert in the United States, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said he hoped that Russia — and China — were "actually testing the vaccine" before administering them to anyone.

Dr. Fauci has said that the US should have a "safe and effective" vaccine by the end of this year.

"I do not believe that there will be vaccines so far ahead of us that we will have to depend on other countries to get us vaccines," he told US lawmakers.

Scores of possible coronavirus vaccines are being developed around the world and more than 20 are currently in clinical trials.

Meanwhile, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said in late July that he was hopeful that Russia would produce a reliable vaccine against COVID-19 by the fall.

Russia registered 5,462 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, taking its total to 845,443, the country's COVID-19 response center said in a statement on Saturday. — Agencies


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