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Photo: Sergei Karpukhin\TASS via Getty Images

Russia began distributing its coronavirus vaccine on Saturday, making Sputnik V available at 70 different locations around Moscow.

Driving the news: The immunization effort comes days after Russian President Vladimir Putin directed officials to begin large-scale vaccination against the virus, despite widespread criticism from scientists worldwide over the Sputnik V vaccine's safety and effectiveness.

  • Russia has not completed advanced studies on the vaccine to ensure it is safe and adheres to scientific protocols.

Details: The two-shot vaccine is only available to people between the ages of 18 and 60 who do not have a chronic disease or a cold, and who are not pregnant or breastfeeding.

  • Patients will be required to get the second shot 21 days after the first injection.
  • Moscow said 5,000 doctors, teachers, social workers and other high-risk groups have already signed up for the vaccine.

The big picture: Russia has recorded more than 2.4 million coronavirus cases and over 42,200 deaths, per data from Johns Hopkins University.

Go deeper: Why you should be skeptical of Russia's coronavirus vaccine claims

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

WHO says most pregnant women can now receive coronavirus vaccine

A doctor administering Moderna's coronavirus vaccine at a university hospital in Essen, Germany, on Jan. 18. Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has altered its guidance for pregnant women who wish to receive the coronavirus vaccine, saying now that those at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 or who have comorbidities that increase their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated.

Why it matters: The WHO drew backlash for its previous guidance that did not recommend pregnant women be inoculated with vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, even though data indicated that pregnancy increased the risk of developing severe illness from the virus.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: CDC director maintains Pfizer booster recommendation for high-risk workers — CDC director approves Pfizer boosters, adds eligibility for high-risk workers — FDA approves Pfizer boosters for high-risk individuals, people 65 and up.
  2. Health: America's mismatched COVID fears — Some experts see signs of hope as cases fall — WHO: Nearly 1 in 4 Afghan COVID hospitals shut after Taliban takeover — D.C. goes further than area counties with vaccine mandates.
  3. Politics: Bolsonaro isolating after health minister tests positive at UN summit — United Airlines says 97% of U.S. employees fully vaccinated — Mormon Church to mandate masks in temples.
  4. Education: Health care workers and teachers caught up in booster confusion — Asymptomatic Florida students exposed to COVID no longer have to quarantine — Education Department investigating Texas mask mandate ban.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Jan 29, 2021 - World

EU grants conditional approval of AstraZeneca vaccine

Photo: Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The European Commission on Friday granted conditional approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for people 18 years and older.

Why it matters: This is the third vaccine to receive approval from the commission, coming hours after the Emergency Medicines Agency recommended its authorization.