Russia on Saturday announced that it has produced the first batch of its coronavirus vaccine "Sputnik V" and will be first given to doctors. The development comes days after President Vladimir Putin announced the country had been first in the world to approve a vaccine.
"The first batch of the novel coronavirus vaccine developed by the Gamaleya research institute has been produced," Russian health ministry's statement as quoted by The Mint.
The announcement of registering the first vaccine for COVID-19 came even though it still needs to complete the clinical trials. Putin had said that the vaccine was safe and one of his daughters had been inoculated.
Approval of the vaccine before completing the final stage raised concern among various experts.
The World Health Organisation informed the vaccine approved by Russia earlier this week is not among the nine vaccine candidates that have been given consideration in the advance stages of testing that includes Oxford and AstraZeneca's ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222), which is currently undergoing the final phase of testing.
A senior adviser to WHO's director-general, Dr Bruce Aylward said that the organisation is in talks with Russia to get more information on the vaccine, as they don't have enough particulars to make a judgement on the vaccine developed by Russia.
"We're currently in conversation with Russia to get additional information to understand the status of that product, the trials that have been undertaken and then what the next steps might be."
The medical body has included the nine COVID-19 vaccines candidates within an investment mechanism, known as the Covax facility. The initiative allows countries to invest in several vaccines and obtain access, while also theoretically providing funding for developing countries.
Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin, through a television video conference announced that Russia's Gamaleya National Research Centre in partnership with the Russian Defence Ministry has registered the first COVID vaccine in the world.
He also assured of the efficiency of the vaccine by stating that one of his two daughters has received a shot of the vaccine and is stable.