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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 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters, WHO says — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older.
  5. Variant tracker
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.