Amid international skepticism, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday announced that his country has officially registered the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine – saying it offers “sustainable immunity” and that one of his daughters has already been inoculated.
Putin emphasized during a government meeting that the vaccine, which was developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, has undergone proper testing and was proven safe to use.
“This morning, for the first time in the world, a vaccine against the new coronavirus was registered” in Russia, the strongman said during a video conference call with ministers.
“I would like to repeat that it has passed all the necessary tests,” Putin said. “The most important thing is to ensure full safety of using the vaccine and its efficiency.”
He added that one of his two daughters has received two shots of the vaccine and is feeling well.
“She has taken part in the experiment,” Putin said, adding that she had a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit on the day of the first shot, and then it dropped to just over 98.6 degrees the following day.
After the second dose, she again had a slight increase in temperature, but then it was all over.
“She’s feeling well and has high number of antibodies,” added Putin, who didn’t specify which of his two daughters — Maria or Katerina — received the vaccine.
His declaration comes as scientists at home and abroad have warned that the rush to roll out the vaccine before Phase 3 trials — which usually last for months and involve thousands of people — could backfire.
Russia, which has been pushing hard to quickly develop a vaccine, said earlier this month it hoped to launch mass production within weeks and turn out “several million” doses per month by 2021.
Last week, the World Health Organization urged Russia to follow established guidelines and go “through all the stages” necessary to develop a safe vaccine.
Russian health workers treating coronavirus patients will be given the chance of volunteering to be vaccinated soon, a source told Reuters last month.
More than 100 possible vaccines are being developed worldwide to try to stop the pandemic. At least four are in final Phase III human trials, according to WHO data.