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Russia Says Its Vaccine Is Effective

Russia has announced that its Sputnik V SARS-CoV-2 vaccine is also highly effective at protecting against infections, the Wall Street Journal reports. This announcement, it notes, comes on the heels of Pfizer and BioNTech reporting earlier this week that initial data indicated their vaccine is more than 90 percent effective.

According to the Journal, the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which has been leading the vaccine development effort there, says an interim analysis of data from a trial that is to include 40,000 people has indicated its vaccine is 92 percent effective. Twenty people across the trial groups, it adds, developed COVID-19. CBS News adds that 20,000 people in the trial have received the first vaccine dose and more than 16,000 have received both doses.

However, CBS News also reports that this announcement appears to downplay that four healthcare workers who received the vaccine — which Russia approved in August prior to Phase III testing, drawing criticism for being hasty from many scientists — have caught the virus. According to CBS News, officials say that the healthcare workers caught SARS-CoV-2 after receiving the first dose of vaccine, but before they received the second, adding that full effectiveness can't be expected until three weeks after receiving the second dose.

Still, the Gamaleya Institute for Epidemiology and Microbiology's Alexander Gintsburg tells the Journal that a mass vaccination effort may begin within a few weeks.