Russia announced Monday that 1.5 million people around the world had received its Sputnik-V coronavirus vaccine as part of an initiative that Kremlin critics have described as a geopolitical push.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which funded the development of the Sputnik-V coronavirus vaccine, confirmed the figure to AFP without breaking down the distribution of the sting.
“We cannot say how many of them are in Russia and the rest of the world,” said RDIF spokesman Arseny Palagin, adding that individual nations could publish data separately.
Russia became the first country to register a vaccine last August, months ahead of Western competitors, and Moscow has more than a billion orders for the sting abroad.
Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said this month that more than 8.00,000 Russians had received Sputnik and that 1.5 million doses of around 147 million had been distributed across the country.
Moscow virus statistics are skeptical, however, and health officials admitted in December that deaths from the pandemic were nearly four times higher than previously reported.
An advisor to the Russian Minister of Health said over the weekend that consultations with the World Health Organization on the use of Sputnik in emergency situations would begin on January 20.
The designation would enable Sputnik V to be distributed as part of the WHO emergency rollout to countries struggling to obtain vaccines independently.
Russia has been hit by a second wave of the coronavirus in recent months, but the Kremlin has withheld from introducing extensive restrictive measures like it did at the start of the pandemic.
However, Russian officials say the number of new daily cases has decreased in the past few days, getting closer to 20,000.
On Monday, authorities reported a total of 3,425,269 infections and more than 62,000 deaths.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)