Putin touts Russian coronavirus vaccine, offers it to UN staff for free

Russian vaccine has been met with skepticism

Vladimir Putin called the recently approved Russian coronavirus vaccine "reliable, safe, and effective," offering to supply it to other nations, despite some skepticism.

“We are ready to share experience and continue cooperating with all states and international entities, including in supplying the Russian vaccine, which has proved reliable, safe and effective, to other countries," Putin said at a virtual United Nations General Assembly.

The Russian president also said he is ready to give the vaccine to the United Nations, whose offices were hit by coronavirus outbreak.

"Russia is ready to provide the UN with all the necessary qualified assistance. In particular, we are offering to provide our vaccine free of charge for the voluntary vaccination of the staff of the UN and its offices," Putin said.

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Russia approved the world's first coronavirus vaccine, the Sputnik V, in August. It was met with skepticism from the international community because it was studied in only dozens of people.

Putin said at the time that the vaccine was "proven efficient and forms a stable immunity," and that one of his adult daughters already has received the shot.

The fast-track approval has scientists around the world worried, as an experimental vaccine needs to be studied in tens of thousands of people over months to prove it is safe and effective.

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Earlier this month, an international group of researchers sent an open letter to the authors of a Sputnik V study, hoping to clarify certain data irregularities.

"While the research described in this study is potentially significant, the presentation of the data raises several concerns which require access to the original data to fully investigate," the letter says.

Even the Russian scientists who authored the study admit they were limited; there was a follow-up time of just 42 days, there were only 76 participants, and there was no placebo or control vaccine.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said last month that he "seriously doubt(s)" Russia has proven its vaccine is safe and effective.

As of Tuesday, Russia has 1,105,048 confirmed cases and 19,420 deaths from coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Ben Evansky, Eric Shawn and the Associated Press contributed to this report.