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Moscow key workers register for jabs of Russian-made COVID-19 vaccine - Metro US

Moscow key workers register for jabs of Russian-made COVID-19 vaccine

FILE PHOTO: Paramedics transport a patient to a amid the coronavirus disease outbreak in Omsk

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Muscovites from high-risk groups such as healthcare workers began registering for jabs of a Russian-made COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, two days after President Vladimir Putin called for large-scale vaccinations.

Sputnik V, one of two Russian-made vaccines to have received regulatory approval in Russia despite clinical trials being incomplete, requires two injections. Interim trials showed it is 92% effective at protecting people from COVID-19.

Mass testing for the second Russian vaccine, EpiVacCorona, began on Monday.

The online registration service allows Moscow residents in specified high-risk jobs and aged between 18 and 60 to book free vaccination appointments at 70 points around the city, starting from Saturday, the mayor’s website said.

“Over the first five hours, 5,000 people signed up for the jab – teachers, doctors, social workers, those who are today risking their health and lives the most,” Mayor Sergei Sobyanin wrote on his personal website.

“For other Moscow residents, free vaccination will become available later,” the website said.

Moscow has a total population of nearly 13 million.

Kirill Dmitriev, head of the country’s sovereign wealth fund which is backing the development and marketing of Sputnik V, told the BBC on Friday that Russia expected to vaccinate around two million people in December.

CONCERNS

Scientists have raised concerns about the speed at which Moscow has worked, giving the regulatory go-ahead for its vaccines and launching mass vaccinations before full trials to test its safety and efficacy had been completed.

Russia has agreed production and supply deals with a number of foreign countries, but the European Union raised concerns when Hungary said it planned to import and possibly use Sputnik V as the vaccine had not been reviewed by the European Medicines Agency.

Britain is preparing in the coming days to launch its own mass innoculation programme after becoming the first country worldwide to approve Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Russia is currently developing 10 vaccines, TASS news agency cited Anna Popova, head of consumer health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, as saying on Thursday.

The decision to take part in Russia’s vaccine trials is voluntary, authorities say, but some public sector workers have told Reuters of pressure to take part.

The views of Muscovites on the new vaccination campaign were mixed.

“I like it because this is a chance to turn the tide, to reduce the infection rate,” said one resident, Igor Krivobokov.

Others were more sceptical.

“This process will take a long time. Only a small amount of the vaccine has been produced,” said Sergei Grishin, adding that he did not plan to get the jab himself.

Russia has so far recorded 2,402,949 COVID-19 infections, taking fourth place globally behind only the United States, India and Brazil. It has confirmed 42,176 deaths.

Russia reported 27,403 new coronavirus cases on Friday, but has resisted imposing lockdowns during the second wave of the virus, preferring targeted regional curbs, to cushion the impact on its struggling economy.

(Reporting by Maria Vasilyeva; additional reporting by Alexander Reshetnikov, Anton Kolodyazhnyy and Gleb Stolyarov; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Katya Golubkova, Timothy Heritage and Gareth Jones)

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