First country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine
President Vladimir Putin said on 11 August 2020 that Russia had become the first country in the world to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing, a move hailed by Moscow as evidence of its scientific prowess. The development paves the way for the mass inoculation of the Russian population, even as the final stage of clinical trials to test safety and efficacy continue. The speed at which Russia is moving to roll out its vaccine highlights its determination to win the global race for an effective product, but has stirred concerns that it may be putting national prestige before sound science and safety.
- Its approval by the health ministry foreshadows the start of a larger trial involving thousands of participants, commonly known as a Phase III trial.
- Such trials, which require a certain rate of participants catching the virus to observe the vaccine's effect, are normally considered essential precursors for a vaccine to receive regulatory approval.
- Regulators around the world have insisted that the rush to develop COVID-19 vaccines will not compromise safety. But recent surveys show growing public distrust in governments' efforts to rapidly produce such a vaccine.
- Russian health workers treating COVID-19 patients will be offered the chance of volunteering to be vaccinated soon after the vaccine's approval.
- More than 100 possible vaccines are being developed around the world to try to stop the COVID-19 pandemic. At least four are in final Phase III human trials, according to WHO data.
- Russia has named its first approved COVID-19 vaccine 'Sputnik V' for foreign markets, a reference to the world's first satellite and what Moscow sees as its success at becoming the first country to approve a vaccine, a top official said on 11 August 2020.
- Russia had already received requests from more than 20 countries for 1 billion doses of its newly-registered COVID-19 vaccine.
- The speed at which Russia is moving to roll out the vaccine has prompted some international scientists to question whether Moscow is putting national prestige before solid science and safety.