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WHO in Talks With Russia About New Vaccine

A scientist works inside a laboratory of the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology during the testing of a coronavirus vaccine, in Moscow, Russia, Aug. 6, 2020. (Russian Direct Investment Fund / Handout via Reuters)

The World Health Organization said Tuesday said it was holding talks with Russia regarding its recently approved COVID-19 vaccine.

Russia on Tuesday became the first country to approve a vaccine for use on tens of thousands of its citizens. In an appearance on Russian television, President Vladimir Putin claimed the vaccine has proven efficient and has passed "all the necessary tests."

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the government via video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia, Aug. 11, 2020. (Sputnik/Aleksey Nikolskyi/Kremlin)

He said his own daughter has taken the vaccine and after two shots had a normal temperature and a "high number of antibodies."

The announcement came amidst global skepticism because the vaccine received approval after less than two months of human trials in Russia with a limited number of test subjects.

"We are in close contact with Russian health authorities and discussions are ongoing with respect to possible WHO prequalification of the vaccine, but again prequalification of any vaccine includes the rigorous review and assessment of all required safety and efficacy data," WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told a U.N. briefing in Geneva.

Jasarevic says he is encouraged by the speed in which possible vaccines are being developed around the world. He said the WHO’s main concern is equitably distributing whatever viable vaccines are developed around the world.