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Russia starts giving Covid vaccine shots to doctors, health workers and teachers in Moscow

Russia starts giving Covid vaccine shots to doctors, health workers and teachers in Moscow

Russia has started the distribution of its Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine through 70 clinics in Moscow, the city’s coronavirus task force announced on Saturday.

The task force said the vaccine would first be made available to doctors and other medical workers, teachers and social workers because they ran the highest risk of contracting the disease.

Moscow, the epicentre of Russia’s coronavirus outbreak, registered 7,993 new cases overnight, up from 6,868 a day before and well above the daily tallies of around 700 seen in early September.

The age for those receiving shots is capped at 60. People with certain underlying health conditions, pregnant women and those who have had a respiratory illness for the past two weeks are barred from vaccination.

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

Russia has developed two COVID-19 vaccines, Sputnik V which is backed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund and another developed by Siberia’s Vector Institute, with final trials for the both yet to be completed.

Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has also signed agreements with Indian pharma companies Hetero Labs and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories to produce the vaccine in India after tests are carried out successfully. The deal with Hetero is for over 100 million doses per year of Sputnik V Covid vaccine in India. The production of the vaccine is expected start in the beginning of 2021.

Dr Reddy's Laboratories and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) had on Tuesday announced the start of adaptive phase 2/3 clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V in India after receiving necessary clearance from the Central Drugs Laboratory in Himachal Pradesh.

The Indian drug maker, in a release, said this will be a multicentre and randomised controlled study, which will include safety and immunogenicity study.

The clinical trials are being conducted by JSS Medical Research as the clinical research partner.

Further, Dr Reddy's has partnered with the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), Department of Biotechnology for advisory support and to use BIRAC's clinical trial centres for the vaccine, it said.

Recently, RDIF announced the second interim analysis of clinical trial data, which showed 91.4 per cent efficacy for the vaccine on day 28 after the first dose and vaccine efficacy of over 95 per cent, 42 days after the first dose..