Moscow is slow to inoculate Russians despite approval, Health News, ET HealthWorld

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Moscow is slow to inoculate Russians despite approvalMoscow: More than a month after becoming the first country to approve a coronavirus vaccine, Russia has yet to administer it to a large population outside a clinical trial, health officials and outside experts say. The approval, which came with much fanfare, occurred before Russia had tested the vaccine in late-stage trials for possible side effects and for its disease-fighting ability. It was seen as a political gesture by President Vladimir Putin to assert victory in the global race for a vaccine. It is not clear whether the slow start to the vaccination campaign is a result of limited production capacity or second thoughts about inoculating the population with an unproven product. The Russian vaccine is one of nine candidates around the world now in the late-stage clinical trials.

In one example of the limited scope of distribution, the company financing the vaccine pointed to a shipment sent this past week to the Crimean Peninsula. The delivery contained doses for 21 people in a region with 2 million. The Russian ministry of health has not said how many people have been vaccinated in all of Russia. The minister, Mikhail Murashko, said last weekend that the first small shipments were being delivered this past week to the provinces. He did not say how many doses.

“Unfortunately, we have very little information,” said Dr Vasily Vlassov, a professor of epidemiology and vice president of the Russian Association for Evidence-Based Medicine. His organization had opposed approval of the vaccine before testing it. “If few Russians are receiving the vaccine, the early approval appears less troubling. Maybe nothing scary is happening in reality…,” he said. nyt

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