Russia has become the first country in the world to approve a coronavirus vaccine, President Vladimir Putin announced on Tuesday.
Mr. Putin said the new vaccine was developed by the Gamaleya Institute in Moscow, and that production and tens of thousands of inoculations would soon follow.
Western nations have warned that the country may be jumping dangerously ahead of a large scale testing that is essential to determine if the vaccine is safe and effective.
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Russian officials have said that a second vaccine from the state research center in Siberia, Vector, is not far behind.
“Of course, what counts most is for us to be able to ensure the unconditional safety of the use of this vaccine and its efficiency in the future. I hope that this will be accomplished,” Putin said at a meeting with government members Tuesday.
He said his own daughter had been inoculated with the Gamaleya vaccine.
The Washington Post quoted Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund that bankrolled the country’s vaccination effort, as saying that the new vaccine will be named “Sputnik,” a reference to the first orbital satellite, which was launched by the Soviet Union and started the great Cold War space race.
“I do hope that the Chinese and the Russians are actually testing the vaccine before they are administering the vaccine to anyone, because claims of having a vaccine ready to distribute before you do testing, I think, is problematic at best,” Anthony S. Fauci, director of the United States National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases warned at a Congressional hearing this month.