Algeria will commence the rolling out the contentious Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine developed by Russia in January, the government said late Wednesday.
The North African country had signed a “mutual agreement with a Russian laboratory for the acquisition of the coronavirus vaccine from January”, said Communications Minister Ammar Belhimer.
Finance ministry director general Abdelaziz Fayed told local broadcaster Echorouk, that an initial shipment of 500,000 doses will be received by Algerian authorities.
The announcement was made a day after the North African nation’s elderly president Abdelmadjid Tebboune, returned home from Germany where he was treated for a coronavirus infection after being absent for two months.
In August, Moscow announced the registration of Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine after it had completed just the second phase of trials on under 100 volunteers.
Scientists at home and abroad have been showing concern and raising eyebrow about the vaccine, saying the decision was premature, without wider clinical trials and the publication of scientific results.
The vaccination campaign in Russia commenced on December 5, beginning with at-risk workers who were at the forefront in the battle to try and contain the virus.
Some analysts have viewed the fast-track registration and the early launch of mass vaccination as a bid by Russia to bolster geopolitical influence.
According to the Algerian health ministry, the country has recorded nearly 100,000 Covid-19 infections and sadly, more than 2,750 have died from the disease.
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