Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine Rollout Begins In India

Agence France-Presse, 14.05.2021

India on Friday started deploying Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, the first foreign-made shot to be used in the country as it reels from an explosion in cases and deaths.

Sputnik in mid-April became the third vaccine to be approved by New Delhi along with the AstraZeneca shot -- made in India -- and the homegrown Covaxin of Bharat Biotech.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which helped finance the jab, said vaccination started in the southern city of Hyderabad on Friday, making Sputnik V the "first foreign-made vaccine that is used in India".

"RDIF stands ready to support our partners in India to launch a full-scale vaccination with Sputnik V as soon as possible," the fund's CEO Kirill Dmitriev said in a statement.

The first token batch of Sputnik vaccines -- reportedly 150,000 of them -- arrived on May 1 and a second delivery is expected in the next few days.

But a number of leading India-based drugmakers, including Virchow Biotech and Hetero Biopharma, have agreements for local production of Sputnik V with the aim to produce over 850 million doses of the jab a year.