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WHO says it is discussing new COVID-19 vaccine with Russia

GENEVA — The World Health Organization (WHO) and Russian health authorities are discussing the process for possible WHO prequalification for its newly approved COVID-19 vaccine, a WHO spokesman said on Tuesday.

President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia had become the first country in the world to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing, a move hailed by Moscow as evidence of its scientific prowess.

During a late night briefing on Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte said that Russia may be providing its vaccine to the Philippines for free, and said that he was willing to be the first Filipino to get inoculated with it.

"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, referring to clinical trials. — Reuters