Putin calls on the public to accept vaccination against the coronavirus

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on screen at his annual press conference on December 17, 2020 in Moscow, Russia.

Mihail Szvetlov | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on the public to obtain a vaccine against the coronavirus, but said he himself has not yet received it.

At his annual press conference in Thursday in December, Putin called on the Russians to take a vaccine called “Sputnik V,” and said he would receive it as soon as possible.

“According to our health professionals, vaccinations … are for people of a certain age … people like me haven’t been vaccinated yet. I’m a law-abiding citizen and I always listen to what our health professional says, so I haven’t vaccinated yet, but I’m sure I will do it as soon as I am allowed. “

“Our vaccine is effective and safe, so I see no reason why we should be afraid of being shot,” he said, adding that Russia’s primary goal is to vaccinate its own citizens and that it will increase its production capacity so do it.

Sputnik Vt has been tested in volunteers aged 18-60 years and is therefore only recommended for people in this age group. Because Putin is 68 years old, he does not qualify.

The Russian direct investment fund, which supports the Russian vaccine, will conduct a separate investigation on Thursday in the over-60s to see if it is “safe and effective” for older people.

Vaccination of the elderly, and in particular those with basic health needs, is considered a priority by most experts, as they are the most vulnerable to Covid-19 deaths. In the UK, where the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is already being made available to the public, the elderly and healthcare workers are the first in line to receive it.

Studies over 60 years

The Russian news agency Tass reported in October that the first group of volunteers aged 60 and over had been vaccinated with the Russian Sputnik V, with a total of 110 people attending the trial.

The first group of volunteers consisted of 28 members, including people with chronic illnesses typical of the elderly, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and chronic renal failure. The oldest man in the group was 82 years old, Tass reported.

Lead researcher at Russia’s Central Clinical Hospital, Nikita Lomakin, who is leading the studies, reported that no negative reactions were observed in the first group.

Later in October, the head of the Gamaleya Federal Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology said Covid antibodies develop after vaccination in people over 60, but they may be less effective than younger people.

“Vaccination has definitely started, a certain number of people in their 60s, 70s, maybe even 80s have been vaccinated,” said Alexander Gintsburg of Gamaleya, Tass reported. “We are not expecting anything extraordinary, there will be no further side effects, no antibodies will develop. The only thing is the extent to which the antibodies neutralize the virus: Younger people develop antibodies that interact very well with the virus, while older people develop much less – more dozens or even a hundred times less – they interact with the virus. ”