Russia to begin mass Covid vaccinations next week

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday instructed the government to begin large-scale vaccinations against the coronavirus next week.

Medical workers and teachers, who are two high-risk groups, will be among the first to get shots, Putin said at an online meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova and other senior officials, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to the president, the number of produced vaccine doses will reach two million in the coming days.

“I am sure that we will complete all the preparations this week,” Golikova reported to Putin, adding that the vaccination will be voluntary and free of charge.

Vaccinations for Russian troops have already started and about 80,000 soldiers will get injections by the end of the year, while more than 400,000 servicemen will receive vaccines, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said last week.

Russia has developed two COVID-19 vaccines, namely Sputnik V and EpiVacCorona. A third one being developed so far is scheduled to have its clinical trials completed by the end of 2020.