Putin orders Russia to begin mass coronavirus vaccine rollout next week

Jimmy Nsubuga
·2-min read
MOSCOW REGION, RUSSIA - DECEMBER 2, 2020: Russia's President Vladimir Putin takes part in a ceremony to open multifunctional medical centers of the Russian Defense Ministry via a video link from Novo-Ogaryovo residence. Alexei Nikolsky/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS (Photo by Alexei Nikolsky\TASS via Getty Images)
Vladimir Putin has ordered mass vaccinations from next week. (Getty)

Vladimir Putin has ordered authorities to begin mass vaccinations against COVID-19 from next week.

The Russian president told deputy prime minister Tatiana Golikova on Wednesday: "Let's agree on this - you will not report to me next week, but you will start mass vaccination... let's get to work already."

The ‘Sputnik V’ vaccine is said to be 92% effective at protecting people from coronavirus, according to previously reported results.

Putin’s comments come hours after the UK announced its regulator had approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine - the first country in the world to do so.

Prime minister Boris Johnson said the jab would also be rolled out from next week.

Watch: Pfizer vaccine approved in UK

Although Russian authorities gave Sputnik V their regulatory approval under an accelerated procedure in August, trials in Russia, designed to assess its safety and efficacy, are ongoing.

With more than two million infections, Russia has the fourth-largest number of COVID-19 cases in the world behind the US, India and Brazil.

Last week, developers of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine said Oxford University and AstraZeneca should try combining their shot with the Russian one to boost efficacy.

“If they go for a new clinical trial, we suggest trying a regimen of combining the AZ shot with the #SputnikV human adenoviral vector shot to boost efficacy,” the developers of the Russian vaccine said on their Twitter account.

“Combining vaccines may prove important for revaccinations.”

MOSCOW REGION, RUSSIA - NOVEMBER 28, 2020: The Russian Gam-COVID-Vak (Sputnik V) vaccine at the COVID-19 vaccination center at the Domodedovo central city hospital. Valery Sharifulin/TASS (Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)
The Russian Sputnik V vaccine. (Getty)

Many people are eagerly awaiting the regulatory approval of the Oxford vaccine.

The UK has placed orders for 100 million doses – enough to vaccinate most of the population – with a rollout expected in the coming weeks if the jab is approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Oxford data indicates the vaccine has 62% efficacy when one full dose is given followed by another full dose, but when people were given a half dose followed by a full dose at least a month later, its efficacy rose to 90%.

The combined analysis from both dosing regimes resulted in an average efficacy of 70.4%.

Indian pharmaceutical company Hetero will manufacture over 100 million doses of the Russian Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine per year under the terms of a deal unveiled on Friday between it and Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund.

Sputnik V Phase III clinical trials are also underway in Belarus, the UAE, Venezuela and other countries.

Watch: How England's new three-tier COVID system will work