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Putin Orders Expansion Of Vaccination Effort

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Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the government via teleconference call at Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

MOSCOW — Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has ordered his government to expand the vaccination effort.

Russian authorities have said more than 1.5 million people already have received the domestically designed Sputnik V vaccine even as the advanced studies among tens of thousands of people continue.

Speaking at Wednesday’s meeting with senior government officials, Putin instructed them to expand the scale of vaccination that had been limited to certain social groups and professions.

Russia has been widely criticized for giving Sputnik V regulatory approval in August after it was tested on a few dozen people and rushed to offer it to people in risk groups — such as medical workers and teachers — within weeks of approval.

Sputnik V’s developers have said data suggests the vaccine was 91% effective, and Putin on Wednesday extolled it as “the best in the world.”

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