Russia rolls out COVID-19 vaccine in Moscow

Tim O'Donnell

Russia launched its nationwide coronavirus immunization effort Saturday in Moscow, where thousands of workers in the city's health, education, and social services systems have signed up to receive the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine at 70 vaccinations facilities throughout the capital.

Those eligible for the inoculation at this stage include people in the aforementioned professions between 18 and 60 years old. People who have had respiratory illnesses within the last two weeks, those with chronic illnesses, and pregnant and breastfeeding women cannot receive a shot. Producers are only expected to make 2 million doses of the vaccine by the end of the year, so the Moscow rollout is considered a preliminary step.

The two-shot vaccine has been the subject of international scrutiny since it was registered in Russia while still undergoing mass testing, but developers say it causes no serious side effects and is more than 90 percent effective, a rate similar to Moderna's and Pfizer's vaccine candidates. The Russian government says that more than 100,000 people have already received the vaccine, including top officials and military personnel.

BBC reports several of the people who went to clinics to get vaccinated Saturday were calm despite the outstanding questions, including one doctor who said her experience treating COVID-19 patients informed her decision to take her chances with the vaccine instead. Read more at The Associated Press and BBC.

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