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Russia contemplates vaccinations amid record COVID-19 cases, doctor dearth

MOSCOW: Authorities in Moscow were preparing for mass vaccinations against COVID-19 and Russia’s daily tally of infections rose past 18,000 to a record high, amid a shortage of doctors across the country, the Kremlin said on Friday.

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, Deputy Mayor Anastasia Rakova said on Friday.

The capital was creating a large network of specialized vaccination rooms with 2,500 high-risk people – primarily doctors and teachers – having already been vaccinated, Russian news agencies reported, she said.

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.

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

READ: National lockdown a possibility to contain COVID-19 spread: UK minister

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov praised the heroism of medical professionals, working in what he described as extreme conditions, but he acknowledged the shortage of doctors everywhere.

Authorities were under fire across Russia, with taxi drivers in the Urals city of Ekaterinburg staging a protest and threatening strike action over being forced to install acrylic safety screens in their vehicles, as reported in the media.

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