Russia will have supplied more than 1 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V to its own national inoculation programme by the end of this year, a government minister said on Wednesday.
Russia, which began rolling out the vaccine in early December, has so far produced over 2 million doses in total, Industry Minister Denis Manturov told state television.
The Sputnik V vaccine is administered in two doses, which use different components, 21 days apart.
The current production rate will allow the vaccine to be rolled out across Russia's regions and be exported to other countries at the same time, Manturov said.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Russia sent 300,000 doses of the vaccine to Argentina last week, causing frustration at home, with some people arguing that more shots should be made available at home..
Authorities on Wednesday reported 26,513 new daily coronavirus cases, including 5,105 in Moscow, pushing the national tally to 3,131,550 - the fourth highest in the world.
Russia also said that 599 people had died in the last 24 hours, taking the official death toll to 56,426, though excess mortality data suggests the actual figure is around triple that.