The first batch of the Sputnik V vaccine against the COVID-19 coronavirus has been released into public circulation, with regional deliveries planned in the near future, according to the Russian Health Ministry.
"The first batch of the ‘Gam-COVID-Vac’ [Sputnik V] vaccine for the prevention of new coronavirus infection, developed by the Gamaleya National Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Ministry of Health of Russia, has passed the necessary quality tests in the laboratories of Roszdravnadzor [medical device regulator] and has been released into civil circulation," the ministry said in a statement.
Earlier in the day, Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko announced that COVID-19 vaccination among volunteers under Phase III of clinical trials will start this week.
On Sunday, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin expressed hope that the majority of the Russian capital's residents would be vaccinated against the coronavirus within several months.
Sputnik V was registered on 11 August, marking the world's first vaccine against the COVID-19 coronavirus. It was developed by the Gamaleya National Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology and RDIF.
After registration, at least 20 countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Philippines, Mexico, Brazil and India, have expressed their interest in obtaining the vaccine.
Plans include ramping up production of the vaccine to 200 million doses by the end of 2020, including 30 million in Russia.