Putin orders start of Russia’s mass COVID vaccination programme

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Russian president says country will have produced two million doses of its Sputnik V vaccine within the next few days.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the country’s authorities to begin mass voluntary vaccinations against COVID-19 from next week onwards.

The move, announced on Wednesday, came after Russia said last month that its domestically produced Sputnik V vaccine was 92 percent effective at protecting people from COVID-19, according to interim results.

More than 100,000 people have already been inoculated against the novel coronavirus, according to Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko, who presented the Sputnik V vaccine to the United Nations over video link on Wednesday.

The country’s overall rise in cases has however slowed since reaching a high on November 27, with officials resisting imposing lockdowns during a second wave of infections and instead opting for targeted regional curbs. The country’s overall rise in cases has however slowed since reaching a high on November 27, with officials resisting imposing lockdowns during a second wave of infections and instead opting for targeted regional curbs.