"I hope that the Russians have actually definitively proven that the vaccine is safe and effective," Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said during a National Geographic-sponsored event scheduled to air on Thursday. "I seriously doubt that they've done that."
"So if we wanted to take the chance of hurting a lot of people or giving them something that doesn't work, we could start doing this, you know, next week if we wanted to," Fauci, continued, referring to the vaccine candidates in the U.S. "But that's not the way it works."
On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that his country had registered the world's first COVID-19 … vaccine.
Despite the criticism and scant public information on human trials that allegedly began in May, Putin claimed the Kremlin approved the vaccine for widespread use, drawing skepticism from scientists and public health experts.