MOSCOW (AP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin will launch his first vaccination against COVID-19 on Tuesday, but out of sight of his cameras, his spokesman said, raising questions about whether the gesture would boost Russia’s relatively low vaccination rate.
Asked whether the Kremlin would publish photos or footage of Putin’s coronavirus vaccine, Dmitry Peskov told reporters that they would have to “accept (our) word.”
“When it comes to vaccinating cameras, he has never supported it, he does not like it,” said Peskov.
Peskov will not reveal whether Putin will go to a vaccination facility or be shot in his office or residence, saying only that “this will be done in a way that has the least impact” on Putin’s work schedule.
Putin announced that he would be vaccinated the day before at a government meeting. The announcement came months after widespread immunization against COVID-19 in Russia. Kremlin critics say Putin’s avoidance of the vaccine has fueled growing skepticism about the vaccine.
Only 6.3 million people, or 4.3% of Russia’s 146 million population, have received at least one dose of the vaccine. It lags behind a number of other countries in terms of vaccines. Research by the Levada Center for Independent Research in Russia has shown that the number of Russians who do not want to be vaccinated against the Sputnik V shot has increased in recent months. 62% in February and 58% in December.
Under pressure from reporters that Putin should be vaccinated with a camera to boost the rate of vaccinations, Peskov insisted that the Russians would “hear” about the president’s vaccinations. “Putin is already doing a lot to promote the vaccination campaign,” Peskov said.
“During his working hours, the President devotes considerable time to events, discussions, vaccinations, vaccine production, etc. “So the president is doing a lot to promote the vaccines,” Peskov said.
The Kremlin spokesman declined to say which of the three vaccines authorized by Russia would be given to Putin, saying only that all three were “absolutely good, reliable and effective.”
Russian authorities have confirmed the settlement of three domestic shootings – Sputnik V, EpiVacCorona and CoviVac. All three received permission before the advanced tests were completed, and experts say they are needed to ensure their safety and effectiveness in accordance with an approved scientific protocol.
However, a recent study in the British medical journal Lancet found that Sputnik V is 91% effective և seems to prevent people with the COVID-19 disease, although it is not yet clear whether the vaccine can prevent the spread of the disease. No data have been released on the effectiveness of the other two vaccines.