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Russia begins mass COVID-19 vaccinations

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Moscow began mass coronavirus vaccinations Saturday, despite concerns over the speed with which the vaccine was rushed into development.

The Russian-made Sputnik V COVID-19 shot was available at 70 clinics, according to the city’s coronavirus task force, Reuters reported.

Frontline workers such as doctors and other medical personnel, teachers and social workers were the first to get the jab and more than 5,000 people signed up within the first five hours Friday.

Texts received by some frontline workers early Saturday read: “You are working at an educational institution and have top-priority for the COVID-19 vaccine, free of charge.”

Moscow logged a shocking 7,993 new coronavirus cases Friday night, a jump from 6,868 a day before and well above the daily average of around 700 reported in early September.

Russia has had two COVID-19 vaccines, Sputnik V which is backed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund and another from Siberia’s Vector Institute.

The mass vaccinations are underway despite concerns from some scientists that full trials to test safety and efficacy have not been completed.

A vial containing Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine in a clinic in Moscow.
A vial containing Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine in a clinic in Moscow.
Pavel Golovkin/AP

The Sputnik V vaccine is administered in two injections, with the second dose expected to be given 21 days after the first.

Russia reported 28,782 new infections Saturday, its highest daily number, and the country has a total of 2,431,731 virus cases, the fourth-highest in the world.

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