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Putin says doctors and teachers will get first COVID-19 vaccines in new immunization campaign

Putin says doctors and teachers will get first COVID-19 vaccines in new immunization campaign
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Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinRussian protesters pelt police with snowballs as more than 2,000 arrested Russia arrests hundreds of protesters demanding release of Kremlin critic Navalny What might have been, if Trump had not acted as his own worst enemy MORE on Wednesday ordered a “large-scale” coronavirus immunization campaign, placing doctors and teachers first in line to receive the Russian-made vaccine.

Russia’s vaccine, which has not yet gone through the studies to ensure its safety and effectiveness, was first announced in September. This allowed Russia to become the first country to register a coronavirus vaccine.

Putin said his daughter would be among the early recipients of the vaccine, according to The Associated Press.

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Russia touted its vaccine, called Sputnik V, and quickly gave it regulatory approval, though health experts criticized this move, noting that it had only been tested on about a dozen people at the time.

The Russian leader said more than 2 million doses of Sputnik V will be produced in the next few days.

“This gives us the opportunity to start if not mass, but large-scale vaccination, and of course, as we agreed, first of all of the two risk groups — doctors and teachers,” said Putin.

He appointed Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova to put together a campaign to allow mass vaccinations to begin by the end of next week. The shots will be voluntary and free, according to Golikova. Like Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines, the vaccine will be administered in two shots.

According to Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko, more than 100,000 people in Russia have been given the shot already.

Medical journal The Lancet reported that participants in the Russian vaccine trials developed antibodies without serious symptoms and said it had a “good safety profile," though further testing was recommended. 

Putin's announcement came just as the U.K. approved Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine, becoming the first Western country to do so.

According to the World Health Organization, Russia has recorded more than 2.3 million coronavirus cases and more than 41,000 deaths. The country recorded 589 coronavirus on deaths on Tuesday, the most it has reported since the pandemic began.