Sputnik V: Putin claims win in ‘vaccine race,’ as Russia registers first COVID-19 shot amid concerns it is compromising safety

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Russia registered the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine, President Vladimir Putin said, marking a milestone in the fight against the novel coronavirus but amid rising safety concerns in the West over the country’s accelerated clinical evaluations.

Russian officials have compared [August 11]’s registration of the vaccine with the health ministry to the Cold War-era space race, and Moscow hopes the landmark event will return some prestige to the scientific legacy inherited from the Soviet Union.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the government via video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow August 11, 2020. Credit: Sputnik/Reuters

The conditions of the vaccine’s development, however, have raised concerns in Moscow and in the West over the safety of the vaccine and fears that the Kremlin is sacrificing the safety of its citizens.

Scientists at the Moscow-based Gamaleya Institute have employed military testing, accelerated clinical evaluations and shortened test-trial times in an attempt to be first with a vaccine. Russia hopes to use it in a massive immunization rollout at home and export it abroad.

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“We should be grateful to those who have taken this first step, which is very important for our country and the whole world,” Mr. Putin told a government meeting, a Kremlin transcript showed.

Related article:  Japan tamed COVID-19 without lockdowns. Here’s how

“I hope we can start a massive release of this vaccine soon,” he said, adding that one of his daughters had received the vaccine.

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