Russia’s capital and largest city, Moscow, which has had the country’s highest rate of coronavirus infections, will begin mass vaccinations against the disease within the next two months, an official said.
Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said this on Monday in Moscow.
Russia has recorded the world’s fourth-highest coronavirus caseload with more than 1.4 million infected.
It is the first country to introduce a vaccine against the virus to be approved for use by the general public.
The vaccine, Sputnik V, has courted controversy among the international scientific community amid claims that it was not sufficiently tested.
Russian health officials have adamantly backed the vaccine.
“We will begin mass vaccinations of the population in December-January,” Sobyanin said in a statement on his website.
He noted that currently about 10,000 people were being hospitalised in the city for the coronavirus, including about 1,000 people on ventilators. “This is a lot,” he warned.
However, he said a return to lockdown measures that devastated the economy earlier this year would be “unacceptable and impossible.”
“The optimal strategy is to find a middle way between closing the city and completely abandoning restrictive measures,” he said.
This past week revealed “signs that the spread of the infection is being brought under control,” Sobyanin said.
He noted that 40 per cent fewer people have been using public transport.
Employers have been urged to allow employees to work from home, and the elderly and at-risk individuals have been advised to avoid going outside.