Russia has started inoculating volunteers in Moscow as part of the Phase 3 trial of the country’s coronavirus vaccine, news agency AFP reported, citing the capital’s deputy mayor. “The first participants have already had the vaccination at clinics in the capital,” Deputy Mayor Anastasia Rakova, responsible for social development, said in a statement.
Russia last month approved a coronavirus vaccine, which has been named “Sputnik V” after the Soviet-era satellite that was the first launched into space in 1957. The vaccine was developed by the Gamaleya research institute in Moscow in coordination with the Russian defence ministry.
But Russia raised concerns among some scientists by announcing that the vaccine had received approval before full clinical trials has been completed.
Many top leaders of Russia including Vladimir Zhirinovsky have already taken the vaccine.
Russian authorities say that bulk deliveries of the vaccine to the regions are scheduled to begin in November. Earlier the Healthcare Ministry reported that the first batch of the Sputnik V vaccine was released for civilian circulation and teachers and healthcare workers will be given priority.
In another development, AstraZeneca has suspended global trials of its experimental coronavirus vaccine after an unexplained illness in a participant.
Safety is paramount in vaccine clinical trials and temporary suspensions are not unusual to evaluate any unexplained illness in a participant, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday regarding the pause in an AstraZeneca COVID-19 trial.
“We are pleased to see vaccine developers assuring the scientific integrity of the trials and abiding by the standard guidelines and rules for the development of vaccines,” the WHO said.
The WHO recommended “strict adherence to established testing protocols in all vaccine trials to ensure the safety of volunteers and the eventual safety and efficacy of vaccines”, it added.