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Russia has given regulatory approval to what it claims is the world's first coronavirus vaccine.
And President Vladimir Putin is so confident he said he has already given the vaccine to his daughter, television channel Dozhd reports.
Russia's health ministry has given regulatory approval for the Covid-19 vaccine, developed by Moscow's Gamaleya Institute, after less than two months of human testing, President Putin said on Tuesday.
If legitimate, the move paves the way for mass inoculation even as the final stages of clinical trials to test safety and efficacy continue.
Speaking at the announcement, President Putin said he now hopes Russia will start mass production of the vaccine.
The vaccine will be available to Russian citizens from January 1, according to local reports.
The speed at which Russia is moving to roll out its vaccine highlights its determination to win the global race for a vaccine.
But it has stirred concerns that it may be putting national prestige before science and safety.
President Putin said: "We must organise the mass production of the vaccine so that everyone who wants to can benefit from the achievements of our scientists.
"Vaccination must be carried out exclusively voluntarily."
Speaking at a government meeting on state television, President Putin claimed the vaccine was safe and it had even been administered to one of his daughters.
Police officer 'chokes' woman who refused to wear face mask in brutal arrest footage
"I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks," said Putin.
Its approval by the health ministry foreshadows the start of a larger trial involving thousands of participants, commonly known as a Phase III trial.
Such trials, which require a certain rate of participants catching the virus to observe the vaccine's effect, are normally considered essential precursors for a vaccine to receive regulatory approval.
Regulators around the world have insisted the rush to develop Covid-19 vaccines will not compromise safety.
But recent surveys show growing public distrust in governments' efforts to rapidly produce such a vaccine.
Russian health workers treating Covid-19 patients will be offered the chance of volunteering to be vaccinated soon after its approval, a source told Reuters last month.
More than 100 possible vaccines are being developed around the world to try to stop the coronavirus pandemic. At least four are in final Phase III human trials, according to WHO data.
- Vladimir Putin
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