Kazakhstan has got into a deal to get supplies of Russia's first probable coronavirus or COVID-19 vaccine once the clinical trials are complete, the Central Asian country's government, and the backers of the Russian project stated on Wednesday.

According to the deal, the nation is going to buy over two million doses initially and can later increase the volume to five million doses, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) that is backing the vaccine mentioned in a statement.

COVID-19 in Kazakhstan

Coronavirus
Workers of Junjiang Industrial Limited Company produce medical masks in Yilong New District at Bouyei-Miao Autonomous Prefecture of Qianxinan in southwest China's Guizhou Province, Feb. 21, 2020. Medical supply companies in Yilong New District have been producing medical supplies at full capacity to support the fight against the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. (Xinhua/Yang Wenbin/IANS) Xinhua/IANS

The sides did not disclose the price of the deal. The Nur-Sultan government said the vaccine would be made available to at-risk Kazakh citizens free of charge. The vaccine, called "Sputnik V" in homage to the world's first satellite launched by the Soviet Union, has been hailed as safe and effective by Russian authorities and scientists following two months of small-scale human trials.

But Western experts have been more skeptical, warning against its use until all internationally approved testing and regulatory steps have been seen to be taken and proved a success. The backers of the Russian project said last week they were starting large-scale trials of the vaccine that would involve more than 40,000 people and would be overseen by a foreign research body.

(With agency inputs)