President Vladimir Putin announced Wednesday that he has received his second Covid-19 vaccine shot with one of Russia’s domestically developed jabs and that he hoped Russians would follow his example.
“I want to inform you that right now, before entering this room, I also received the second vaccination,” he said during a televised meeting of the Russian Geographical Society. “I hope that everything will be fine — in fact, I am sure of it.”
“I assume that you, taking care of yourself and your loved ones, will do the same and follow my example,” he added.
Like his first dose, the president’s second jab took place off-camera, with the Kremlin previously saying he “does not like” the idea of being vaccinated in front of the cameras.
Putin has also declined to say which of Russia’s three approved coronavirus vaccines he received. His spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters last month that “all three Russian vaccines are absolutely reliable, very good and effective.”
While global demand for Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is high, with 60 countries authorizing the jab so far, domestic demand has lagged, with polls showing Russians as having one of the world’s highest rates of vaccine hesitancy.
According to Reuters, Russia has administered roughly 14.2 million vaccine doses, or enough to fully vaccinate 4.9% of its population.
In the days after Putin’s first vaccine dose, demand for Covid-19 vaccination rose “dramatically,” the Vedomosti business daily reported earlier Wednesday, citing unnamed officials in the Moscow Mayor’s Office and the presidential administration.
With 4.6 million cases and over 100,000 deaths, Russia ranks among the countries worst-hit by Covid-19.
The country has lifted most of its coronavirus-related restrictions and ruled out a return to the full-scale lockdown of spring 2020 despite a record-setting second wave over the winter.