Russian President Vladimir Putin has been vaccinated against COVID-19 and is feeling well, RIA said on March 23 citing the Kremlin, as authorities seek to encourage hesitant Russians to get the shot.
The Kremlin said earlier on March 23 that it had deliberately decided not to reveal the name of the Russian-made vaccine which Putin chose to take.
Putin had been criticized for being slow to get vaccinated in a country where there is widespread hesitance over the vaccine.
So far, some 4.3 million people in Russia have received both doses of a two-shot vaccine, which is less than 5 percent of the country’s 146 million people, putting Russia behind many other countries in its rollout.
Russia has the world’s fourth-highest number of coronavirus infections at 4.4 million, and the seventh-highest death toll from COVID-19 at 94,231.
The country has developed three COVID-19 vaccines — Sputnik V by the Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, EpiVacCorona, produced by the Vector Institute in Novosibirsk, and CoviVac, from the Chumakov Centre in St. Petersburg.
In August, Russia approved the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, prompting scientists around the world to question its safety and efficacy because it was registered before the results of Phase 3 studies were made available.
However, peer-reviewed, late-stage trial results published in The Lancet medical journal last month showed the two-dose regimen of Sputnik V was 91.6 percent effective against symptomatic COVID-19, about the same level as the leading Western-developed vaccines.
Still, a recent survey by the Levada Center, an independent polling agency, showed that the number of Russians hesitant to get the Sputnik V shot grew in February to 62 percent from 58 percent in December.
The EpiVacCorona and CoviVac vaccines also received regulatory approval before completing late-stage trials.