Mammoth vax center opens at Moscow venue


Russia Luzhniki Stadium as vaccination center Image: Evgeny Egorov/Luzhniki Stadium

Moscow (Russia) opened one of the world’s largest vaccination centers at the Luzhniki Stadium on July 7th, where 15,000 people can get SputnikV or single dose Sputnik Light per day. The center has been opened with foreign citizens in mind.

The ‘Official Website of the Mayor of Moscow’ quoted the Mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin, as stating while visiting the new vaccination center, “Just recently, we vaccinated the migrants and for this purpose we opened two vaccination points in Sakharov and Sadovod where 4,000 people per day will be able to take the COVID-19 shot. But this did not serve the required purpose, but became very much in demand among the migrant population. Looking at the huge demand, on July 7th, we opened a vaccination center – I think one of the largest in the world – at the Luzhniki Stadium. It boasts capacity to vaccinate 15,000 people per day, which is about two and a half times more than the one that we opened in Gostiny Dvor.”

The Luzhniki Stadium is the national stadium of Russia, in its capital City, Moscow. The full name of the stadium is Grand Sports Arena of the Luzhniki Olympic Complex. Its total seating capacity of 81,000 makes it the largest football stadium in Russia and the ninth-largest stadium in Europe.

Sputnik V or Gam-COVID-Vac is an adenovirus viral vector vaccine for COVID-19 developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Russia.

As per decision taken by the Ministry of Health of Russia, foreign citizens are vaccinated with a single-component vaccine ‘Sputnik Light’, developed at the National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology named after N.F. Gamalei.

The Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology is a Russian medical-research institute headquartered in Moscow. As of 2020, it operates under the purview of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation. The institute, founded in 1891 by Filipp Markovich Blyumental, has commemorated in its name (since 1949) the prominent Ukrainian, Russian and Soviet scientist Nikolay Fyodorovich Gamaleya (1859-1949), famed as a pioneer in microbiology and in vaccine research.

The ‘Official Website of the Mayor of Moscow’ stated that vaccination points at Luzhniki Stadium are located in the fan zone and under the stands of Sectors C and D of the Grand Sports Arena, as well as in the skating center (this building sits next to the ice arena).

Sector C and the fan zone of the Grand Sports Arena can hold up to 5.5 thousand people per day, Sector D – up to 6.9 thousand people. These Sectors are meant for the vaccination of individuals who come to get a jab on their own.

The point in the building of the skating center can accommodate up to 1.9 thousand people per day. Organized groups of foreign workers are vaccinated here. If necessary, the vaccination sites in Sectors C and D can also be quickly reoriented to vaccinate organized groups of people.

Payment for vaccination (1300 rubles) by foreign citizens is done using special terminals or centrally by the employer.

At vaccination points, strict COVID-19 protocols are followed. Freezers have been set up to store the vaccine, in warehouses, personal hygiene items like napkins, disinfectants and other stuff are stored.

The streams of visitors have been managed in such a manner that no serpentine queues are formed and the whole vaccination exercise is done as swiftly and as efficiently as possible and the instructions in the form of markers are very clear. Rooms are also available where individuals can take rest once they are over with taking the jab.

Mayor Sobyanin added, “Most of the migrants will be vaccinated here, but by and large, Muscovites who come on their own will to get vaccinated in this center will also be administered the shot. If earlier, we vaccinated migrants only in an organized manner, through enterprises and organizations, today we invite everyone to this wonderful center, where migrants will have to pay if they want the jab as well as undergo an initial examination by a doctor before getting the shot.”

Special lounges have been set up for the employees serving at the vaccination points and they are also provided meals. Changing room facilities are also there for them.

The whole vaccination exercise is being carried out by a team of 25 doctors and 99 nurses picked up from Moscow’s polyclinics. They are assisted by 99 employees of the My Documents centers of public services and 123 administrators (employees of the Department of Labor and Social Protection of the Population).

As is the procedure in other vaccination points, an administrator meet visitors, give them a knowhow about the whole vaccination procedure, helps them fill up the relevant documents, and escorts them to a doctor for the preliminary examinations. At the workplace of medical personnel, there is a computer connected to the Uniform Medical Information and Analytical System (UMIAS) system, tables, chairs, mobile medical tables, and a medical screen.

Everything is very streamlined – each work station is numbered, making it much easier for patients to navigate. Employees from the Center of Public Services are always there to assist each nurse, who checks each patient’s passport data and enters the serial number of the vaccine into the registration form.

To get vaccinated, foreign citizens need to sign on an agreement and present documents confirming the legality of their stay in Russia.

Vaccination of organized groups is carried out at the request of employers, who are required to provide a complete set of documents for each foreign worker. The employers also help their respective set of employees to reach the vaccination point at a pre-agreed time. Once the vaccine is given, the same is confirmed by a paper certificate, which is given to the employer, and he or she in turn hands it over to his or her employee. Individuals receive a certificate on the spot. The link to the digital certificate (QR code) is sent via SMS service. The phone number to which one needs to send the QR code, during vaccination, is specified by the employee of ‘My Documents’ and the same is fed into the UMIAS system.

Vaccination points at Luzhniki Stadium are open daily from 10 am to 10 pm (seven days a week).

In addition, a vaccination point for Russian citizens has been operating at the 4,200-capacity Palace of Water Sports in Kazan (Russia) since June 17th.

Thus, Luzhniki Stadium is one of the largest COVID-19 vaccination centers in Russia and in the world. The Apart from Luzhniki Stadium, foreign citizens are vaccinated against COVID-19 at the points opened in the multifunctional migration center in the village of Sakharovo and in the Sadovod Shopping Complex.

Also, from July 7th, foreign citizens can apply to vaccination points opened on the basis of paid departments of 25 City polyclinics. Vaccination can be done either through appointment or by phone or it can just be a walk-in vaccination.

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