Russia plans to launch a massive vaccination program against COVID-19, the disease causing the coronavirus, in October. That’s what Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Saturday, the Russian news agency reports RIA.
The minister has not told which vaccine the Russians will use. However, he said that doctors and teachers will be the first to be vaccinated.
CNN Thursday, based on Russian officials, reported that the vaccine was developed by the Gamaleya Institute in Moscow and that the Russian government will be the first country in the world to approve the vaccine within two weeks.
Despite concerns about the safety and effectiveness of the Russian vaccine and whether or not the Russians have taken steps in its development, companies from at least 20 countries have expressed interest in the vaccine, Russian sources said.
“It’s a Sputnik moment”
“It is a Sputnik moment,” said Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian state fund, who invested in Russian vaccine research. He refers to the successful launch in 1957 of the Sputnik, the world’s first satellite in space. With this achievement, the Soviet Union trumped the United States in the space race between the two superpowers during the Cold War.
“The Americans were surprised when they heard the Sputnik sound. The same goes for this vaccine. Russia will be the first,” said Dmitriev.
As far as is known, more than 14,000 people have died from the corona virus in Russia. The total number of reported infections is more than 845,000.