Putin urges the general public to take the coronavirus vaccine

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

Mikhail Svetlov | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin urged the public to receive the coronavirus vaccine but said he has not yet received it himself.

At his annual press conference in December on Thursday, Putin encouraged Russians to take the Sputnik V vaccine and said he would receive it as soon as he was able.

“Our health care professionals say the vaccines … are for people of certain ages … people like me are not allowed to take vaccines yet. I’m a law abiding citizen and I always listen to what our health care professionals say, that’s why I haven’t been vaccinated yet, but I will certainly do that as soon as it is allowed. “

“Our vaccine is effective and safe, so I see no reason why we should be afraid of getting a shot,” he said, adding that Russia’s priority is to vaccinate its own citizens and increase its manufacturing capacity this.

Sputnik V has been tested on volunteers aged 18 to 60 years and is therefore only recommended for people between these age groups. Since Putin is 68 years old, he does not qualify.

The Russian direct investment fund, which supports the Russian vaccine, said Thursday that a separate study will be conducted in the age group over 60 to see if it is “safe and efficient” for the elderly.

Vaccinating the elderly, and especially those with underlying health needs, is considered a priority by most experts as they are the most susceptible to dying from Covid-19. In the UK, where the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine is already being made available to the public, the elderly and health care workers are the first to receive it.

Attempts in 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, which was attended by a total of 110 people.

The first group of volunteers had 28 members, including people with chronic conditions common to the elderly, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and chronic kidney failure. The oldest person in the group was 82, Tass reported.

The chief researcher of the Central Clinical Hospital of Russia, Nikita Lomakin, who leads the studies, said no negative reactions were observed in the first group.

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

“The vaccination has definitely started, a certain number of people aged 60, 70, maybe even 80 years have been vaccinated,” said Alexander Gintsburg of Gamaleya, Tass reported. “We don’t expect anything extraordinary, there won’t be any additional side effects, they’ll develop antibodies. The only thing is to what extent the antibodies neutralize the virus: younger people develop antibodies that interact very well with the virus, while older people develop antibodies that a lot.” interact less with the virus – dozens or even hundreds of times less. “

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