Belarus launched a vaccination campaign against the coronavirus with the Sputnik V sting on Tuesday, making it the first country outside of Russia to use the vaccine developed by Moscow.
In Belarus, which has a population of around 9.5 million, more than 188,000 cases of coronavirus infections and almost 1,400 deaths have been recorded.
“The first shipment of vaccines arrived in Belarus today,” said the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which financed Sputnik V.
RDIF spokesman Arseny Palagin didn’t say how many cans had been sent to Belarus.
Belarusian Health Minister Dmitry Pinevich said health workers and teachers would be among the first Belarusians to be vaccinated.
“We thank Russia for the active mutual work and strategic cooperation to solve this problem,” Pinevich was quoted in the joint statement.
Kirill Dmitriyev, director general of the RDIF, said Russia had planned to produce Sputnik V in the ex-Soviet country to “simplify logistics” and speed up the vaccination campaign.
Russia became the first country to announce registration of a coronavirus vaccine – named Sputnik V after the Soviet-era satellite – in August, but before large-scale clinical trials.
Western and some Russian experts have raised concerns about the accelerated strike, and critics have described it as a tool to strengthen Russia’s geopolitical clout.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)