Putin: We Just Won the COVID-19 Vaccine Race

Russia's leader says they have a vaccine that's ready to roll
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2020 6:01 AM CDT
Putin: We Just Made COVID-19 History
In this file photo taken on Thursday, July 9, 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during a video conference meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow in Moscow, Russia.   (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)

Vladimir Putin says Russia has registered a COVID-19 vaccine—a dramatic first among world nations—and one of his adult daughters has already been inoculated, Reuters reports. "I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks," he said Tuesday on state television. But he added that "the most important thing is to ensure full safety of using the vaccine and its efficiency," per the AP. That apparently means Russia will begin a larger Phase 3 trial with thousands of people while vaccinating millions of others, including front-line health workers, teachers, and others at risk. Among them is one of Putin's two adult daughters, but he didn't say which.

"She has taken part in the experiment," he said, adding that "she's feeling well and has a high number of antibodies." He also said she ran a 100-degree Fahrenheit temperature on the first day of testing, but it dropped to 98.6 the following day. But with Putin's announcement and word that China is testing a vaccine on its military, scientists are warning countries not to rush COVID-19 vaccines, which could prove harmful or give people a false sense of security. But it's a coup for Russia to be the "world's first": They even plan to call the vaccine "Sputnik" after the world's first satellite, which the Soviet Union launched in 1957 and sparked a space race with the US, per the Washington Post. (Last month, Western countries accused Russia of trying to steal coronavirus-vaccine research.)

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