Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed officials to launch next week's mass vaccination in Russia with the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine. The Sputnik V vaccine would be free of charge for Russian residents.
The news comes after the UK became the first nation to allow widespread use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. Reuters stated that the Kremlin had previously given guarantees that Russians were first in line to be vaccinated, with Moscow also negotiating supply deals with other nations.
Russia had previously announced that the Sputnik V vaccine was 92% successful. The announcement comes as Russia registered 589 new daily coronavirus fatalities on Wednesday, Reuters news agency reported.
For global markets, one dose of the Sputnik V vaccine would cost less than $10 (Rs 740). For every person to be protected from SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine are required, so the cost of the Russian jab would be less than $20 (Rs 1480) per individual.
In January, the first foreign delivery of the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine will take place. In addition to other nations, the Russian Covid-19 vaccine will be developed in India, said the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which manages the Russian vaccine candidate's global scope.
"Over the next few days, Russia will have developed 2 million vaccine doses," Putin said.
"Let's agree on this — you're not going to report to me next week but you're going to start mass vaccination... let's get to work already," Putin said, according to Reuters, to Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova.
Golikova said that a large-scale vaccination could begin in December on a voluntary basis.
The situation of coronavirus in Russia
Since hitting a peak on November 27, the increase in infections in Russia has slowed, with 25,345 new cases registered on Wednesday. During the second wave of the virus, Russia opposed enforcing lockdowns, preferring targeted regional curbs.
Russia has the fourth highest number of coronavirus cases in the world, behind the United States, India, and Brazil, with 2,347,401 infections. Since the start of the pandemic, 41,053 deaths related to Covid-19 have been confirmed, Reuters said.
"Russians are the absolute priority," Reuters quoted Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov as saying. "Production within Russia, already under development, will satisfy the needs of the Russians."