Russia has temporarily halted its COVID-19 vaccine trails due to high demand and shortage of doses, news agency Reuters reported, quoting a representative at the firm running the trials.
"It’s related to the fact that there’s colossal demand for the vaccine and they are not producing enough to keep up," the official representing Crocus Medical said. The firm has been running the trials along with the Russian health ministry.
The official added that vaccination will re-start around November 10.
However, Alexei Kuznetsov, aide to Russia’s health minister, told the news agency that the human trial of the vaccine, named Sputnik-V, continued.
"The target of 40,000 vaccinated volunteers will be met," Kuznetsov said.
Russia is currently testing its main experimental vaccine, known as Sputnik-V, on 40,000 people in Moscow. It has already begun vaccinating frontline workers, but only in small numbers.
The development comes against the backdrop of reports suggesting that Russia is facing challenges scaling up production of its main COVID-19 vaccine due to problems with equipment availability.
"There is one question right now and that's providing for industrial production (of the vaccine) in necessary volumes," Russian President Vladimir Putin said, speaking by video link to an investor forum in Russia.
"There are certain problems with this, related to the availability, or lack, of the necessary equipment. Hard materials that are needed for the roll-out of mass production," he said.
Moscow aims to produce 300,000 doses of the vaccine this month, followed by 800,000 in November, and 1.5 million in December, reaching significantly higher volumes in early 2021.