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Moscow authorities promise mass vaccination against COVID-19 as Russian cases soar

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Moscow residents who want to be vaccinated against COVID-19 may be able to do so as early as next month if large volumes of doses are supplied by then, city authorities said on Friday as Russia’s daily tally of cases rose past 18,000 to a record high.

Deputy Mayor Anastasia Rakova said the capital was creating a large network of specialised vaccination rooms with 2,500 high risk people – primarily doctors and teachers – having already been vaccinated, Russian news agencies reported.

Around 9,000 Moscow residents have received both shots of the Sputnik V vaccine as part of an ongoing large-scale trial, its developer was quoted by the RIA news agency as saying on Thursday. The vaccine is taken in two doses, with a 21-day gap.

Mass vaccination of the public is not yet possible, as the necessary number of doses of the vaccine have not yet been delivered, Rakova said on Friday, speaking on the Russia 24 TV channel, adding she thought that this could happen next month.

“Then we will launch its mass use for all Muscovites that are interested,” she said.

Russia is facing challenges in scaling up production of its vaccine with President Vladimir Putin on Thursday citing issues with the availability of equipment.

In the capital, new coronavirus cases stood at 5,268 on Friday, below the record high reached in May, but one of the sharpest rises since lockdowns were eased earlier this year.

Rakova said the rise in cases and hospitalisations was beginning to slow, giving the authorities cause for “moderate optimism.”

Russia has seen new coronavirus cases swell in recent weeks. Authorities reported 18,283 new infections on Friday, the highest tally recorded since the pandemic began, and 355 deaths.

Russia’s COVID-19 death toll stood at 27,656 on Friday. It has reported 1,599,976 infections, the world’s fourth largest number after the United States, India and Brazil.

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