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Russian Military Launches Coronavirus Vaccination Campaign

More than 4,100 soldiers have tested positive for Covid-19 since the start of Russia's outbreak in March, according to the Defense Ministry. Artur Novosiltsev / TASS

Russia's military has launched a coronavirus vaccine campaign among nearly half a million of its active-duty personnel, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced Friday.

More than 2,500 Russian soldiers have been vaccinated so far, Shoigu said, projecting that number to go up to 80,000 by the end of the year. Shoigu himself received the Sputnik V vaccine in September, less than a month after President Vladimir Putin announced that the two-shot jab had received government approval.

“In total, it’s planned to vaccinate more than 400,000 military personnel,” Interfax quoted the minister as saying at a board meeting.

Shoigu said the campaign follows an order from Putin.

Around 120 paid Russian contract soldiers were involved in civilian and military studies of a frozen form of Sputnik V earlier this year. The adenoviral vaccine is currently undergoing Phase 3 post-registration clinical trials among 40,000 volunteers in Moscow in parallel with inoculation of high-risk groups of medics and teachers in Russia's regions.

Shoigu also announced that more than 500 vaccinated soldiers with high antibodies are involved in plasma therapy for severe Covid-19 pneumonia cases.

More than 4,100 soldiers have tested positive for Covid-19 since the start of Russia's outbreak in March, according to the Defense Ministry. It said a total of 17,203 Armed Forces personnel have recovered so far.

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