Russia to begin mass COVID-19 vaccinations next week
The government will start with healthcare workers, OAPs and the army
/NOVOSTIVL/ Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday instructed the government to begin large-scale vaccinations against the coronavirus next week.
Medical workers and teachers, who are two high-risk groups, will be among the first to get shots, Putin said at an online meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova and other senior officials.
According to the president, the number of produced vaccine doses will reach two million in the coming days.
"I am sure that we will complete all the preparations this week," Golikova reported to Putin, adding that the vaccination will be voluntary and free of charge.
“Mass vaccinations should have a limited impact on our growth expectations, but they should ease concerns about stricter lockdowns in 4Q20 and 1Q21,” Sova Capital said in a note. “We think the epidemiological situation could drag down economic activity from a contraction of 3.6% y/y in 3Q20 to a deeper contraction of 4% y/y in 4Q20. We keep our 2021 GDP growth forecast at 2.8% y/y.”
Vaccinations will be voluntary and free of charge for Russian citizens, with teachers and doctors the priority, assuming they agree to be vaccinated. Vaccinations for Russian troops have already started and about 80,000 soldiers will get injections by the end of the year, while more than 400,000 servicemen will receive vaccines, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said last week.
Earlier analysts estimated that provided there was sufficient supply of the Sputnik V vaccine, Russia’s entire population of over 65 year olds could be vaccinated within two months. A mass vaccination should lead to a rapid fall in infection rates that have been running at record levels of over 25,000 a day in the last month.
Russia has developed two COVID-19 vaccines, namely Sputnik V and EpiVacCorona. A third one being developed so far is scheduled to have its clinical trials completed by the end of 2020.