Russian President Vladimir Putin says a coronavirus vaccine developed in the country has been registered for use and one of his daughters has already been inoculated.
Mr Putin emphasised that the vaccine underwent the necessary tests and has proven efficient, offering a lasting immunity from coronavirus.
However, scientists have been sounding the alarm that the rush to start using the vaccine before Phase 3 trials — which normally last for months and involve thousands of people — could backfire.
Speaking at a government meeting, Mr Putin emphasised that the vaccine has undergone proper testing and proven safe to use.
He said: “I would like to repeat that it has passed all the necessary tests. The most important thing is to ensure full safety of using the vaccine and its efficiency.”
The Russian leader added that one of his two daughters has received two shots of the vaccine and is feeling well. “She has taken part in the experiment,” Mr Putin said.
Mr Putin said his daughter had a temperature of 38C on the day of the first vaccine injection, and then it dropped to just over 37C on the following day. After the second shot she again had a slight increase in temperature, but then it was all over.
“She’s feeling well and has high number of antibodies,” Mr Putin added. He did not specify which of his two daughters — Maria or Katerina — received the vaccine.
Russian authorities have said that medical workers, teachers and other risk groups will be the first to be inoculated.
Mr Putin emphasised that the vaccination will be voluntary.
Russian officials have said that large-scale production of the vaccine will start in September, and mass vaccination may begin as early as October.
The World Health Organisation said all vaccine candidates should go through full stages of testing before being rolled out.
Experts have warned that vaccines that are not properly tested can cause harm in many ways – from a negative impact on health to creating a false sense of security or undermining trust in vaccinations.