MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir V. Putin was vaccinated against the coronavirus on Tuesday, the Kremlin said, ending months of resistance against vaccination even while promoting vaccines made in his country.
The president’s injection was not shown on television, an exception to the usual coverage of Mr. Putin’s day-to-day activities on state television.
Its spokesperson, Dmitri S. Peskov, says that Mr Putin had encouraged vaccination in other ways and did not need to be shown in public receiving a vaccine.
“The president, as you can see, devoted a significant part of his working time to events, discussions and meetings on vaccines, on vaccine production, etc.,” Peskov said. “The president is already doing a lot for vaccine propaganda.”
Mr Peskov addressed the issue of the shortage only in export markets for Russia’s most widely used vaccine, called Sputnik V, saying overseas demand exceeded supply and therefore the vaccine had failed. no need for promotion.
In addition to Sputnik V, Russia has approved for emergency use two other vaccines developed in the country – EpiVacCorona and CoviVac – which have not yet completed their clinical trials. The three Russian vaccines require two doses.
Mr Peskov declined to say which of the three Russian-made vaccines Mr Putin received.
Under Russian rules, Mr. Putin became eligible for a Sputnik V shot at the end of December based on his age; he is 68 years old. But months went by without the Kremlin saying his inoculation.
The Kremlin and outside Russian vaccine policy analysts have offered a variety of explanations for the presidential trampling.
At least Mr Putin doesn’t shy away from appearing in public topless, appreciating the opportunities to show off his overall good health with shirtless photos of a fishing or riding vacation in Siberia.
He is also not known to be generally disgusted with vaccines. He told the editors of Russian newspapers last month that he was getting an annual flu shot, and then said he could be vaccinated against the coronavirus with a flu shot in the fall.
In response to a question about whether to promote vaccination by example, he said he did not want to “make a monkey” of himself by appearing in public receiving a coronavirus vaccine, according to a report Of the reunion.
Russia’s vaccination campaign lags far behind the United States and most European countries – the country has vaccinated 3.9 percent of the population with at least one dose, compared to 25 percent in the United States. Some attribute this difference to widespread reluctance to take vaccines, which a presidential shot could help overcome.
Russian news media reports, however, highlighted signs of another cause: shortages and production bottlenecks that officials have only recently recognized.
In a video conference with vaccine makers on Monday, Mr Putin said Russia had produced 8.9 million two-dose sets of the Sputnik V vaccine since regulators approved it in August. But he said production would increase dramatically to 17 million sets per month from April. Officials predicted a much faster deployment last fall.
Promoting vaccination with a presidential vaccine before doses became widely available in Russia may have served only to highlight the vaccine shortage in the country even as Russia exported vaccines to the world, a sensitive political issue.
Mr Putin cited his own vaccination plans on Monday while announcing his intention to produce enough doses for most adults by August.