Putin gets coronavirus vaccine jab, but won’t let the cameras see

Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) arrives for the ceremony of presenting credentials at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Feb. 5, 2020. China is taking
Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) arrives for the ceremony of presenting credentials at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Feb. 5, 2020. China is taking "decisive and vigorous" measures to fight the novel coronavirus, Vladimir Putin said Wednesday at the ceremony of presenting credentials by ambassadors of 23 countries, including China. (Xinhua/Bai Xueqi)

dpa/GNA – Russian President Vladimir Putin received a coronavirus vaccine on Tuesday, the Kremlin said, but unlike other world leaders, he did it out of the glare of the media’s cameras.

Putin, 68, is feeling well after receiving the first of two shots, his spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday evening according to the state news agency TASS.

The Russian leader will have “a full working day” on Wednesday, Peskov added, offering few other details, such as where Putin received his injection and which vaccine he used.

Many in Russia had wondered why Putin – who has posed bare-chested while horseback riding – was so camera-shy when it came to vaccinations.

In earlier comments, Peskov shrugged off the question as to why Putin was getting the jab out of view when so many other politicians have used the moment as a way to boost the public’s confidence in vaccines.

“As for the vaccination under cameras, he doesn’t like it,” Peskov said.

Putin, he said, has never been a supporter of public vaccinations and is already doing a lot to promote the Russian-made vaccines.

The Kremlin spokesperson also said that since all three of Russia’s vaccines “are absolutely reliable,” there was no need to reveal which shot he got.

In mid-August, Russia released its nationally made Sputnik V, the world’s first coronavirus vaccine. Putin has repeatedly called it the best coronavirus vaccine on the market.

Scientists worldwide initially cast doubt on Sputnik V, as it was registered before the results of phase 3 studies were made available.

But it has since been found to be more than 91-per-cent effective, according to a study published in the medical journal The Lancet, and it has now been approved for use in dozens of countries.
A second vaccine developed in Russia, called EpiVacCorona, was registered in October. A third, CoviVac, got the nod in February.

Putin’s immunization has been a widely discussed topic in Russia.

First he seemed to hesitate by saying Sputnik V was not approved for his age group. Then, when the drug got the OK to be given to over-60s, it was said that getting the shot did not fit into Putin’s “vaccination schedule.”

Comparatively few people in Russia have been vaccinated, despite the early approval of Sputnik V.

According to official figures, only 4.3 million people have been fully protected with both injections – that is just under 3 per cent of the population.

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