MOSCOW (AP) — Russia yesterday became the first country to officially register a coronavirus vaccine and declare it ready for use, despite international skepticism. President Vladimir Putin said that one of his daughters has already been inoculated.
Putin emphasised that the vaccine underwent the necessary tests and has proven efficient, offering a lasting immunity from the coronavirus. However, scientists at home and abroad have been sounding the alarm that the rush to start using the vaccine before Phase 3 trials — which normally last for months and involve thousands of people — could backfire.
Speaking at a government meeting yesterday, Putin emphasised that the vaccine has undergone proper testing and proven safe to use. “I would like to repeat that it passed the necessary tests,” he said. “The most important thing is to ensure full safety of using the vaccine and its efficiency.”
The Russian leader added that one of his two daughters received two shots of the vaccine and is feeling well. “She has taken part in the experiment,” he said. His daughter had a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius on the day of the first vaccine injection.
It then dropped to just over 37 degrees on the following day.
After the second shot she again had a slight increase in temperature, but then it was all over.
“She’s feeling well and has high number of antibodies,” Putin added. He did not specify which of his two daughters — Maria or Katerina — received the vaccine.
Russian authorities said medical workers, teachers and other risk groups will be the first to be inoculated. Putin emphasised the vaccination will be voluntary.
Russian officials said large-scale production of the vaccine will start in September, and mass vaccination may begin as early as October.