Russian journalists who work for two state-owned media companies are among the first to be offered the new Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine outside of a clinical trial, according to one of the companies and four employees.
Russia began vaccinating members of the general public who are at high risk of coronavirus infection earlier this month and separately launched a large-scale study. So far, around 400 people have received the bumps under this program, the Ministry of Health announced this week.
The government last month released a list of jobs classified as high-risk, including health workers, journalists and teachers.
With hundreds of potential COVID-19 vaccines in various stages of development around the world, Russia was the first country to license its vaccine for public use and has been deploying the vaccines alongside China before full efficacy studies are completed.
Two journalists from state news agency RIA and two from Russian state television holding VGTRK, which runs news channels Russia-1 and Russia-24, told Reuters that they had been offered a COVID-19 shot voluntarily.
One of the RIA journalists said his impression was that the majority of his colleagues had turned down the offer. One of the VGTRK journalists also said that many of his colleagues had refused.
The RIA news agency confirmed the vaccination program. “We have given employees who work constantly in the office (not remotely), at events and on site, the opportunity to receive a Sputnik V vaccination,” it said in a statement.
RIA did not disclose how many employees received the vaccine and VGTRK did not respond to a request for comment. Both companies employ hundreds of people.
At the RIA and VGTRK headquarters in Moscow, media workers who spoke to Reuters said they had a basic medical check-up, as well as coronavirus PCR and antibody tests.
In an interview with Reuters, the chief scientist behind the development of the vaccine said that people who were vaccinated outside of a study will undergo a less rigorous medical evaluation, although they can submit additional health data through an online platform.
At the time of registration, the vaccine had officially been tested in fewer than 100 volunteers in early-stage clinical trials. The late-stage trials began last month when the first volunteer of a 40,000 cohort was vaccinated on September 9th.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)