DAKAR, Senegal 

Trials of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine known as Sputnik V began in Guinea on Wednesday, official sources announced.

Sory Keira, the communications officer of the National Agency for Health Security (ANSS), said the government obtained some doses of the Russian vaccine on an “experimental basis.” 

“Sputnik V is one of the vaccines that must be tested to see its effectiveness before extending the operation,” Keira said, adding the operation took place at the Sekhoutoureah Presidential Palace.

He said the vaccine will be administered to volunteers aged 50 and above, without specifying the number of people vaccinated on the first day.

Mohamed Diané, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Minister of Defense, was one of the volunteers to take vaccine.

“Guinea is carrying out its first vaccinations…I have complete confidence in the progress of research and science. We will overcome the pandemic all together!” he posted on Facebook with a photo showing him being given the vaccine.

The West African country has recorded more than 13,680 coronavirus cases, with over 13,000 recovering and 80 deaths, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. 

*Writing by Felix Tih 

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