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Moscow begins distributing vaccines in 'large-scale' COVID-19 immunization effort

Moscow begins distributing vaccines in 'large-scale' COVID-19 immunization effort
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Moscow officially began mass distribution of its coronavirus vaccine on Saturday, making the Sputnik V COVID-19 shot available to the public at 70 different clinics within the city.

Doctors, teachers, medical workers and others with a high risk of exposure to the virus are set to be the first to receive the shot, the city announced in a press release.

“Over the first five hours, 5,000 people signed up for the jab - teachers, doctors, social workers, those who are today risking their health and lives the most,” Mayor Sergei Sobyanin wrote on his personal blog on Friday.

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Moscow has been an epicenter for the virus spread in Russia and reported a record daily high of 7,993 infections on Saturday, The Associated Press reported. Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinBiden prepares to confront Putin Ukrainian president thanks G-7 nations for statement of support Biden aims to bolster troubled Turkey ties in first Erdoğan meeting MORE earlier this week signaled the beginning of the "large-scale" vaccination campaign.

The two-shot vaccination will be available to those between the ages of 18 and 60 who do not have a chronic illness and are not pregnant or breastfeeding. Those who receive the vaccination will be required to get the second of the two shots 21 days after the initial injection, according to the release.

Russia's Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Wednesday that nearly 100,000 people in the country already have received the shots.

The vaccine has received scrutiny from scientists who have argued that Russia moved too quickly to produce vaccinations without undergoing a thorough trial period. Sputnik V received government approval in August, while it was still being tested, and developers have said that it is 91.4 percent effective, according to the AP.

Russia has seen more than 2.3 million COVID-19 cases and more than 41,000 virus-related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.