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29 December 2020

Belarus begins mass vaccination against COVID-19 with Russian Sputnik V

MINSK, 29 December (BelTA) – Belarus' Healthcare Ministry, Russia's Ministry of Health and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) have announced the start of the COVID-19 vaccination program in Belarus. The first batch of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V has arrived in Belarus today, BelTA learned from the press service of the Healthcare Ministry.
Belarus' Healthcare Minister Dmitry Pinevich noted that "immunization plays an essential role in the fight against the epidemiological process. Today we will kick off a new stage - mass vaccination against COVID-19. The first to be vaccinated will be healthcare professionals, teachers and specialists who, due to their profession, come into contact with people a lot. Vaccination will be voluntary."
According to him, Belarus has set up a vaccine storage system to keep the cold chain, purchased special medical freezer equipment to transport the vaccine. Dmitry Pinevich added: "We thank Russia for active interaction and strategic cooperation in tackling this issue."
Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko noted that prompt access of Belarus to the Russian vaccine was made possible thanks to the effective work of the Belarusian regulatory system. It is important to emphasize the country's rational approach to local vaccine clinical trials. The protocol of the trials conducted in the country enabled to confirm, in a short period of time, the validity of the extensive Russian data on the Sputnik V clinical trials for residents of Belarus,” he said.
Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), said Belarus was the first foreign country to officially register the vaccine. “Today, Belarus has become the first country to start mass vaccination with Sputnik V. The next stage of cooperation between the RDIF and partners will be the start the vaccine production in Belarus, which will significantly simplify logistics, speed up the rate of vaccination and will prevent the spread of the disease," he concluded.