Despite warnings from public health officials to the contrary, Russia has approved a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 for public use ahead of completion of clinical trials. The move makes Russia the very first country to provide a vaccine for use against COVID-19. According to the New York Times, the World Health Organization warned against straying from standard testing procedure as early as last week. Putin claims the vaccine has already been adminstered to his own daughter.
In a press release from Moscow, Putin spoke on the vaccine's release saying "I know that work on vaccines of this kind in Russia continues in other institutions. I wish all specialists success. We must be grateful to those who took this first step, very important for our country, in general for the whole world." Perplexingly, Putin added, "Although I know that it works quite effectively, it forms a stable immunity, I repeat: it has passed all the necessary tests."
Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko stated of the vaccine, "All of the volunteers developed high titers of antibodies to COVID-19. At the same time, none of them had serious complications of immunization."
The vaccine was produced by Russia's Gamaleya Center and Binnopharm. Production of the vaccine for the public is currently underway. According to Murashko, "technical regulations are being worked out for scaling up production at the sites of a number of domestic manufacturers, there are such in our country" adding that several unnamed countries expressed interest in using the vaccine as well.
"In parallel, the phased application of the vaccine in civilian circulation will begin. First of all, we consider it necessary to offer vaccination to those whose work is related to communicating with infected people. These are medical workers and those on whom the health of children depends - these are our teachers," said Murashko.