Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said that a coronavirus vaccine had been approved for use in the country and that one of his daughters had already received it.
In a government meeting on Tuesday, Putin said that the vaccine had been tested, that it was safe and that it was capable of providing "stable immunity" against the new coronavirus.
"I would like to repeat that it has passed all the necessary tests,” he said, the Associated Press reports. “The most important thing is to ensure full safety of using the vaccine and its efficiency.”
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Putin's announcement came amid concerns from Russian and international scientists that the vaccine was rushed for release ahead of the completion of Phase-3 clinical trials, which consist of testing the vaccine for safety and efficiency in thousands of people.
According to AP, Russia began testing its new vaccine in June on 76 volunteers.
Putin told cabinet members that one of his two daughters took part in the experiments with the vaccine and that she had developed "a high number of antibodies" and was feeling well after receiving two shots of the vaccine.
On the first day of the inoculation, Putin said his daughter had a fever of 38ºC which dropped to 37ºC on the following day. He said her temperature shot up slightly again after the second shot before going back to normal.
The vaccine has been developed by the Gamaleya Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, and Russian officials have said that they are aiming to begin mass-producing the vaccine as early as September.
Health workers, teachers and at-risk populations are set to be the first groups to receive the new vaccine, Russia health authorities said, with official news agency RIU reporting that mass vaccination campaigns could begin as early as October.
Russia's announcement on Tuesday comes as the World Health Organisation (WHO) tracks a total of 26 trials for the development of a vaccine against the novel coronavirus.
It also upsets predictions by several international health experts who said a safe and viable vaccine against the new coronavirus would be available in 2021 at the earliest.
The Brussels Times
This article has been updated.