Russia gives over 800,000 people its COVID-19 vaccine

Russia gives over 800,000 people its COVID-19 vaccine
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Russia’s health minister on Saturday announced that more than 800,000 citizens have received the country’s coronavirus vaccine, with more than 1.5 million doses distributed. 

Reuters reported that the TASS news agency quoted Mikhail Murashko as saying that from Jan. 1, people who received the Sputnik V vaccine will receive an electronic verification certificate, with the health ministry maintaining a database of all those vaccinated. 

Russia has the world’s fourth-highest number of COVID-19 cases, with nearly 3.2 million people infected and more than 57,000 fatalities due to the virus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University

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However, Russian officials on Monday said that the country’s death toll is three times higher than initially reported, meaning the actual number of COVID-19 fatalities could be more than 186,000 people. 

According to Reuters, Sputnik V’s two doses use different components and must be administered 21 days apart. 

The Russian vaccine, which began its rollout in early December, was found by developers to have a 91 percent efficacy rate at preventing COVID-19 after two doses. 

However, the inoculation has received skepticism from some health experts, as the Kremlin announced the vaccine’s registration before all clinical trials were completed. 

Despite this, the Russian vaccine has already been distributed to other countries. 

On Tuesday, Argentina and Belarus began their rollouts of the Sputnik V vaccine, with around 300,000 Argentinians expected to be vaccinated. The Latin American country anticipates receiving 20 million doses within the next two months.

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Venezuela also signed a contract this week to acquire enough doses of the Sputnik V vaccine to inoculate 10 million people, Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodríguez said, according to Reuters. The country began administering doses in October as part of a clinical trial.

Russian state media reported last week that President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinIs Ukraine Putin's Taiwan? Democrats find a tax Republicans can support Biden officials pledge to confront cybersecurity challenges head-on MORE was slated to receive the vaccine, despite previously suggesting that there was no reason for him to be vaccinated. 

Putin previously said that one of his daughters took part in a clinical trial for the Sputnik V vaccine in August.