Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine will be made available to medical personnel within the coming weeks, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Wednesday, the day after its registration provoked debate around the world.
“In the next two weeks, the first packages of the COVID-19 vaccine will be received, first of all for the medics,” Murashko said in comments carried by state news agency TASS.
Russia has recorded the world’s fourth-largest caseload of the novel coronavirus, with more than 900,000 cases.
State-funded scientists raced to produce the vaccine in recent months, but the announcement on Tuesday evoked much scepticism, with experts cautioning that the clinical trials should have been conducted for a longer period.
The vaccine is named after Sputnik, the first man-made satellite to reach orbit, a triumph of the Soviet space programme over its US rival in the late 1950s.
Russia’s ally Iran said on Wednesday that the vaccine could be “potentially dangerous”.
“Before all clinical trials are completed, the use of vaccines is like a Pandora’s box and therefore potentially dangerous,” Health Ministry spokesperson Kianush Jahanpur said on Twitter.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that one of his daughters had taken the vaccine.
The Health Ministry has said the vaccine could be available for mass usage in October.