Russia has started its COVID-19 vaccination programme, with the first jabs going to workers at high risk of becoming infected with coronavirus.
The country raised eyebrows around the world when it declared its vaccine was ready in August, months before any other country gave approval to a vaccine.
Experts doubted whether it could be deemed ready and safe due to the short time period of testing and the small number of people it had been tested on.
Trials are still underway, so the vaccine will currently only be offered to people under the age of 60, and who have no chronic diseases.
Health officials said that they had opened 70 clinics in the Russian capital Moscow, and the shots will initially be offered to health, education and social workers.
President Vladimir Putin announced the rollout hours after Britain became the first country in the world to authorise the Pfizer/ BioNTech vaccine on Thursday.
Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is being rolled out amid record infection rates in the country, with a daily record 28,145 cases reported on Thursday, and another 27,403 on Friday.
Russia’s total number of COVID-19 cases – nearly 2.4 million – remains the world’s fourth-highest. The government coronavirus task force has reported more than 41,000 deaths in the pandemic.
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