Russia announced on Saturday, August 15, 2020, that it has produced the first batch of its newly approved vaccine, Sputnik V, hours after the health ministry reported the start of its production.
The disclosure was made in a statement by the Russian Health Ministry and quoted by Russian news agencies.
This is coming some days after the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, announced the registration of the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine in what could be described as a step ahead of other vaccine developments.
The announcement is seen as a propaganda coup for the Russian government against the west amid a global race to develop vaccines against the coronavirus disease.
The announcement of the vaccine registration by Putin was met with caution from scientists and the World Health Organization (WHO), who said that it still needed a rigorous safety review. Some of the scientists fear that with this fast regulatory approval, Russia may be putting national prestige ahead of safety.
Putin had said the vaccine was safe and that one of his own daughters had been inoculated, although the final stage testing involving over 2,000 people just started this week. Such trials are considered very important before a vaccine can secure regulatory approval.
Russia has said the vaccine which is the first for the coronavirus disease to go into production, will be rolled out by the end of August.
The Gamaleya Research Institute, which developed the vaccine in collaboration with the Russian Defence Ministry, said that Russia would be producing about 5 million doses a month by December or January.