Russia’s health minister said Saturday that the country is planning a mass vaccination campaign for the coronavirus starting in October.
Health Minister Mikhail Murashko told the state-run Interfax news agency that the Gamaleya Institute, a state research facility based in Moscow, is processing paperwork to register its vaccine after it completed clinical trials.
Doctors and teachers will be vaccinated first, Murashko said, adding the campaign would be “widespread.”
The Gamaleya Institute has been working on an adenovirus-based vaccine, but the rapid pace at which the vaccine is being developed has sparked skepticism outside Russia over its efficacy and whether Moscow was being truthful regarding its progress.
Russia has had nearly 844,000 cases since the coronavirus pandemic began and more than 14,000 people have died in the country, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
More than 100 possible vaccines are being developed around the globe as countries race to be the first to come up with a shot that can prevent COVID-19.
Russia had previously said it was hoping to gain approval for a vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Institute on Aug. 10 or earlier.