Russia President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said 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.
Speaking at a Government meeting on State television, Putin said the vaccine, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, was safe and that it had even been administered to one of his daughters.
“I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks,” President Putin said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and Russian health authorities are discussing the process for possible WHO prequalification for the vaccine, a WHO spokesman said on Tuesday.
The vaccine’s approval by the health ministry foreshadows the start of a larger trial involving thousands of participants, commonly known as a Phase III trial.
Although, 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.
Meanwhile, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has accepted Russia’s offer of its coronavirus vaccine, volunteering to take the first shot as a gesture of trust and gratitude.