Putin says he has not yet received Sputnik vaccine
By Erin Cunningham and Isabelle Khurshudyan
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that he has not yet been immunized against the coronavirus, despite a mass rollout of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine earlier this month.
Speaking remotely at his annual news conference, Putin, 68, said he had not received the vaccine because it is not currently recommended for people over 60 years-old, but that he will “definitely get vaccinated as soon as it becomes possible.”
“I’m a fairly law-abiding person,” he said, Reuters reported. “I listen to the recommendations of our specialists. So I haven’t had the shot yet.”
The vaccine was approved for emergency use in Russia in August, a move that alarmed experts who warned that the jab had yet to go through Phase 3 clinical trials.
The state-run Gamaleya Institute that developed the vaccine said this week that new data showed Sputnik V to be 91.4 percent effective. Despite this, Russia is currently only vaccinating people between 18-60 years old.
Putin, who has isolated himself at the Kremlin and private residences to prevent infection, said that no health care system in the world was prepared for the pandemic. But Russia fared adequately, he said.
Russian authorities have reported more than 2.7 million infections and nearly 50,000 deaths since the pandemic began. New cases recently surpassed 25,000 per day and data published by the state statistics service last week showed that 30 percent more people died in Russia in October than a year ago.