Russian President Vladimir Putin receives second dose of coronavirus vaccine

Russian President Vladimir Putin leads a meeting on the production of vaccines against coronavirus disease via a video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on March 22, 2021. – AFP / File

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin has revealed that he has received the second jab of the coronavirus vaccine.

The Russian president urged others to follow his example and be vaccinated to defeat the virus.

“I want to inform you that right now before I entered this room, I also received the second vaccination,” he said during a televised meeting.

“I assume you who take care of yourself and your loved ones will do the same and follow my example,” he added.

The 68-year-old received his first dose on March 23 privately and declined to say which of Russia’s three vaccines – Sputnik V, EpiVacCorona or CoviVac – he had been administered.

In late March, he called on the Russians to be vaccinated against coronavirus and said the country would be able to end all measures to limit the spread of the virus once about 70 percent of the adults had been vaccinated.

He predicted it would happen in late summer.

At the time, he said about 6.3 million of the country’s 144 million people had received a first dose of a vaccine.

Despite the start of its vaccination campaign in early December in front of most countries, Russia has struggled to inoculate its citizens.

Many Russians are skeptical of the vaccine, with a recent poll showing that less than a third are willing to be vaccinated.

Although Russia has been among the hardest hit by Covid-19, it has lifted almost all of its pandemic restrictions, with health officials saying the worst of the country’s outbreaks went over the winter.

But infections in Moscow, the epicenter of Russia’s outbreak, have recently begun to climb, and authorities on Monday suspended most flights with Turkey, citing rising cases there.

As of Wednesday, health officials had reported more than 4.6 million infections and 104,000 deaths due to the virus.

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