Russia has approved the world’s first coronavirus vaccine and declared it ready to use.
President Vladimir Putin confirmed this on Tuesday, August 11. He said one of his daughters has already been vaccinated.
Amidst doubts from international quarters, Putin said the vaccine underwent the necessary tests and has proven efficient, offering a lasting immunity from the coronavirus.
Scientists believe that the vaccine approval is premature. They warned that the rush to start using the vaccine before Phase 3 trials may backfire.
Trials normally last for months and it involves thousands of people, experts say.
“I would like to repeat that it has passed all the necessary tests. The most important thing is to ensure full safety of using the vaccine and its efficiency,” Putin said.
He said his vaccinated daughter had a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 Fahrenheit) on the day of the first injection, and then it dropped to just over 37 degrees (98.6 Fahrenheit) on the following day, adding that she again had a slight increase in temperature after the second shot and it was all over.
“She’s feeling well and has high number of antibodies,” Putin said.
The President, had in March ordered state officials to shorten the time of clinical trials for potential coronavirus vaccines. He stressed that the vaccination will be voluntary.
The Russian Health Ministry said the vaccine is expected to provide immunity from the coronavirus for up to two years.
It was gathered that large-scale production of the vaccine will start in September, and mass vaccination may begin as early as October 2020.
Russia becomes first country in the world to develop a vaccine amid accusations from the U.S., Britain and Canada that Russia used hackers to steal vaccine research from Western labs.
In May, the head of the Gamaleya institute that developed the vaccine,
Professor Alexander Gintsburg, had said that he and other researchers tried the vaccine on themselves.
Human studies reportedly started on June 17 among 76 volunteers. Half were injected with a vaccine in liquid form and the other half with a vaccine that came as soluble powder. Some in the first half were recruited from the military, which raised criticism that servicemen may have been pressured to participate.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had advised that all vaccine candidates should go through full stages of testing before being rolled out.