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Putin orders mass vaccines against coronavirus in Russia starting next week

Putin orders mass vaccines against coronavirus in Russia starting next week

 Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered officials on Wednesday to begin mass vaccines against the coronavirus next week and to open the vaccination program to all Russians.

Russia, which has the fourth highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world, began large-scale vaccines last month.

The sovereign wealth fund RDIF has said that 1.5 million Russians have already been inoculated with the Sputnik V vaccine.

"I ask that you begin mass vaccinations of the entire population from next week," Putin told officials at a government meeting via video link that was broadcast on state television.

Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said authorities would be ready to expand the program starting Monday.

Russia has not imposed a blanket lockdown during the second wave of infections that began in September, and officials have said that specific restrictions are enough to curb the virus.

Earlier on Wednesday, Russia reported 22,850 new COVID-19 cases in the previous 24 hours, bringing the national count to nearly 3.5 million since the pandemic began.

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