Russia will produce 2 million two-shot doses of the vaccine this month purely for its own needs, Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund which is backing the development, said during an online presentation at the United Nations later in the day.
Russia's coronavirus task force on Wednesday reported 589 new deaths, the highest daily tally in the pandemic, topping the previous day's record of 569 and bringing the cumulative total during the pandemic to 41,053. Dmitriyev said that outside of the trial, the vaccine was offered to "volunteers" among medical workers "because we wanted to protect our front-line personnel first".
Tatyana Golikova, Russia's deputy Prime Minister, confirmed to Putin on Wednesday that Russia would be in a position to launch vaccination at state-run clinics next week and that it will be free and voluntary. "Let's take this first step".
The Kremlin earlier gave assurances that Russians would be first in line to be vaccinated, with Moscow also discussing supply deals with other countries.
Russian Federation has been swept by a rapid resurgence of the outbreak this fall, with numbers of confirmed Covid-19 infections and deaths regularly hitting new highs and significantly exceeding those reported in the spring.
"The absolute priority is Russians", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. Russian Federation has resisted imposing lockdowns during the second wave of the virus, preferring targetted regional curbs.
With 2,347,401 cases, Russian Federation has the fourth-largest number of coronavirus cases in the world behind the United States, India and Brazil. "Production within Russia, which is already being developed, will meet the needs of Russians".
Museums, theatres and concert halls would be closed to the public in St Petersburg of over 5 million people for the duration of Russia's New Year holidays, from 30 December to 10 January.
The UK Government announced earlier on Wednesday Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine had been approved for emergency use in Britain and would be rolled out from early next week. But science reporter Ivan Semeniuk says it's likely high-risk people will be prioritized for receiving any vaccine first, with some possibly getting it as early as the first part of 2021.