Russia begins Covid-19 vaccination program in Moscow

Bernardo Suarez Indart

Moscow, Dec 5 (efe-epa).- Russia launched a Covid-19 vaccination campaign on Saturday in Moscow, as the city and country reported new records for daily infections.

Vaccination centers have been set up in 70 clinics in Moscow, which during the first stage of the campaign will welcome people between 18 and 60 years of age who belong to at-risk groups, such as teachers, health workers and social workers.

Russia is using its own vaccine Sputnik V, which until now had been administered only to military personnel and volunteers as part of clinical trials.

The voluntary vaccination is carried out by appointment, which can be requested online in the service portal of the City Council.

The whole procedure, which includes a medical examination, the preparation of the vaccine (it has to be defrosted at the time) and a 30-minute observation period after it has been administered, takes approximately one hour.

The inoculation is administered in two doses, meaning people who receive it on Saturday will have to come back in three weeks to be injected with the second dose.

According to Moscow’s Mayor, Sergey Sobyanin, thousands of people have already made appointments to be vaccinated, and City Hall plans call for the campaign to be available to up to seven of the city’s nearly 13 million inhabitants.

“As with any vaccine, it can cause weakness and a slight increase in body temperature in the first twenty-four hours after its administration,” warned the director of Moscow’s No. 2 polyclinic, Natalia Shindriayev, in statements to the RIA Novosti agency.

The doctor stressed that this is an “absolutely normal reaction”.

But surveys show that the population will take some convincing to take the vaccine.

According to a survey published by the portal, only 9 percent of Russians are firmly determined to be inoculated against Covid-19 and 21 percent are in favour of it, while the remaining 80 percent are less enthusiastic.

“More than 20,000 people received the two doses of the vaccine in the course of clinical trials and only 273, 1.5 percent, fell ill,” Moscow Deputy Mayor Anastasia Rakova said on Friday to highlight Sputnik V’s effectiveness.

The vaccine, which uses human adenovirus as a vector, was developed by the Gamaleya Center and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (FIDR), has an efficacy of more than 95 percent, according to its manufacturers. The price of the two doses is $20.

Russia is also working on the mass distribution of another vaccine, EpiVacCorona, developed by the Vektor State Research Center for Virology and Biotechnology.

This drug was registered in Russia last October, but the results of the phase III clinical trials in terms of efficacy have not yet been published.

A third Russian vaccine, developed by the Chumakov Center, is preparing for phase III clinical trials. EFE-EPA


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