Russian officials have announced that mass distribution of the Sputnik V vaccine has begun in Moscow, which has long been the COVID-19 epicenter in Russia. This on the same day the capital city reported a record one-day high of 7,993 infections on Saturday.
The shot is now said to be available at up to 70 different clinics across the city, but health officials have arranged for higher risk 'front line' groups to receive the jab first. This includes doctors, nurses, teachers and social workers.
"Over the first five hours, 5,000 people signed up for the jab - teachers, doctors, social workers, those who are today risking their health and lives the most," Mayor Sergei Sobyanin wrote in a statement on Friday.
The official Moscow mayor's website informed the public further that "Sputnik V is a two-dose vaccine, with the second shot administered 21 days after the patient gets the first one."
"Signing up for the first shot will be enough, since the doctor at the clinic will take care of signing the patient up for the second dose. Patients will receive an SMS-alert 24 hours before the appointed time," the health announcement says.
President Vladimir Putin earlier this week touted that his country is ready to roll out the world's first ever "large-scale" vaccination campaign of a population. It's supposed to be over 90% effective, according to analysis cited in the AP:
Last month, developers of the vaccine said interim analysis of trial data showed it was 91.4% effective. The conclusion was based on 39 infections among 18,794 study participants that received both doses of either the vaccine or a placebo, which is a much lower number of infections than Western drugmakers have looked at when assessing the effectiveness of their vaccines.
Russia remains with the fourth highest numbers of confirmed cases in the world, at over 2.4 millions confirmed infections since the pandemic began.