Russia launches first Covid-19 vaccine in the world, claims pre-booking from 20 countries

Russia on Tuesday launched world’s first Covid-19 vaccine named ‘Sputnik V.’ However, various nations and institutions have expressed concerns regarding the haste which was apperantly exhibited by Russia in launching the jab. Nonetheless, despite all the concerns being expressed by different quarters of the world, Russia appears fully convinced and confident. So much so that President Vladimir Putin’s daughter became the first to receive the dose.

On Tuesday, Launching the country’s first coronavirus vaccine dubbed ‘Sputnik V’ Russian President Vladimir Putin said “This morning, for the first time in the world, a vaccine against the new coronavirus was registered,” Putin said in a televised cabinet session broadcast, reported The Moscow Times. “I know that it’s effective and forms sustainable immunity.”

Putin thanked everyone who worked on the first-ever vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, even as he called it as a ‘very important step for the world’. The president also confirmed that one of his daughters has already received the jab.

Kirill Dmitriyev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund which finances the vaccine project, said Phase 3 trials would start on Wednesday and industrial production was expected from September.

“We’ve seen considerable interest in the Russian vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Institute from abroad,” he said, adding that “preliminary applications for over one billion doses” of the vaccine had been received from 20 countries.

However, World Health Organization (WHO) doesn’t appear to be convinced yet and has sought to review the safety data of the jab. “We are in close contact with the Russian health authorities and discussions are ongoing with respect to possible WHO pre-qualification of the vaccine,” the United Nations health agency’s spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told reporters in Geneva at an online press briefing.

“Pre-qualification of any vaccine includes the rigorous review and assessment of all the required safety and efficacy data.”

Meanwhile, a report from the Bloomberg stated that Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has accepted Russia’s offer of its COVID-19 vaccine, volunteering to be the first person to get the shot. With almost 900,000 coronavirus infections, Russia is reported to have the world’s fourth-highest COVID-19 caseload.