Russia begins large scale vaccination as coronavirus cases surge

Russia has started larger scale vaccination as the country announced a start of a large-scale voluntary vaccination programme against the coronavirus.

Sputnik V, one of two Russian-made vaccines to have received domestic regulatory approval so far despite clinical trials being incomplete, requires two injections. A third vaccine is in also in the works.

Let's take a look:

Teachers getting coronavirus shots

Russian teachers received COVID-19 vaccine shots on Thursday (December 3) as the country announced a start of a large-scale voluntary vaccination programme against the coronavirus.


'Passed all checks'

President Vladimir Putin has said the vaccine "passed all checks." Putin himself has yet to be vaccinated, however: His position means he cannot take something that is still being tested, the Kremlin says. In August, Putin said one of his daughters had been inoculated and was fine afterwards.



High risk

Even before the trials have been completed, Russians are already receiving the vaccine. The medicine received formal regulatory approval from Russian authorities in August; Russia, which has the world's fourth-highest number of recorded COVID-19 cases, says it has so far inoculated more than 100,000 people considered at high risk such as military personnel, doctors and teachers.


State employees describe pressure

Russian state employees are coming under heavy pressure to sign up for the trials, an effort that medical ethicists say may run afoul of ethical norms for voluntary participation in such tests.

In conducting the trials, Moscow is helped by legions of Russian public sector workers who rely on the government for their pay. Over three days in November and six days in October, Reuters reporters visited 13 of the trial clinics and spoke to 32 trial participants. Thirty of the 32 said they had been told about the trial at work.


92% effective

Russia's vaccine testing began in early September and is in its final phase in 29 clinics across Moscow. About 20,000 people have already taken part. The government says interim results show the vaccine is 92% effective. The country aims to produce more than a billion doses of the shots at home and abroad next year.


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