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Belarus starts COVID-19 vaccinations with Russian shots

Belarus on Tuesday has announced the start of mass coronavirus vaccinations with the Russian-developed Sputnik V shot, becoming the second country after Russia to roll out the vaccine.   | Photo Credit: AP

Belarus on Tuesday announced the start of mass coronavirus vaccinations with the Russian-developed Sputnik V shot, becoming the second country after Russia to roll out a vaccine that is still undergoing late-stage studies to ensure its safety and effectiveness.

The first batch of Sputnik V arrived in the former Soviet republic on Tuesday, according to a joint statement by the Belarusian Health Ministry, the Russian Health Ministry and the Russian Direct Investment Fund that bankrolled development of the jab.

The health ministry posted pictures of people getting the shots on social media.

"A new stage starts in Belarus today with mass vaccinations against COVID-19. Medical staff, teachers, and those who come into contact a lot of people due to their jobs will be the first to get vaccinated. Vaccination will be entirely voluntary,” Health Minister of Belarus Dmitry Pinevich was quoted in the statement as saying.

Belarus conducted its own trial of Sputnik V among 100 volunteers and gave the shot regulatory approval on Dec. 21. The Russian-made vaccine was also approved on an emergency basis in Argentina, where vaccinations are expected to start Tuesday as well.

Belarus has reported nearly 190,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and about 1,400 deaths since the start of the pandemic, but many in the Eastern European nation of 9.4 million people suspect that authorities are manipulating statistics to hide the true scope of the country’s outbreak.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2021 3:15:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/belarus-starts-covid-19-vaccinations-with-russian-shots/article33445394.ece

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