Russia allows use of Sputnik V for people over 60

Russia allows use of domestically designed Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V for people over 60

Authorities said this week that more than 300,000 people have received the vaccine

Sputnik V. Credit: AFP file photo.

Russia's Health Ministry has allowed a domestically designed coronavirus vaccine to be given to people older than 60.

Until Saturday's announcement by Health Minister Mikhail Murashko, the Sputnik V vaccine was cleared for use for people aged 18-60.

Russia has been widely criticised for giving Sputnik V regulatory approval in August after it was tested only on a few dozen people and then rushing to offer it to people in risk groups — such as medical workers and teachers — within weeks of approval.

Authorities said this week that more than 300,000 people have received the vaccine even as the advanced studies among tens of thousands of people are continuing.

Sputnik Vs developers have said data suggests the vaccine was 91% effective, a conclusion based on 78 coronavirus infections among nearly 23,000 participants.

That's far fewer cases than Western drugmakers have accumulated during final testing before analysing how well their vaccine candidates worked.