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Russian President Vladimir Putin  (AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (AP)

Russia Covid-19 vaccine: Putin intends to get inoculated, says report

  • The announcement came as a move to decrease the level of measures of Russian President’s epidemiologic protection
  • During his phone conversation with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Putin promised to get inoculated and visit Seoul

Amid the buzz around potential Covid-19 vaccines and the proper distribution and inoculation of it against the novel coronavirus, Russia's President Vladimir Putin declared his intent to get vaccinated, according to a report.

The announcement came as a move to decrease the level of measures of Russian President’s epidemiologic protection, according to a Russian news agency TASS citing Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

"There are, of course, special precautions when it concerns the head of state. He has stated already that he is thinking about the vaccine," the spokesman said. He added that "in order to decrease the level of epidemiologic precaution measures, it is necessary to get inoculated," reported TASS.

According to reports, Putin will pay an official visit to South Korea under safe sanitary and epidemiological measures in regard to the ongoing global spread of the novel coronavirus, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

During his phone conversation with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Putin promised to get inoculated and visit Seoul. The spokesman specified that the "president was not talking about trips abroad in general."

"In the context of the conversation he was talking exclusively about his potential visit to South Korea. He did not mention other trips," the Kremlin representative said in response to the question whether this meant that the Russian leader would return to the practice of face-to-face foreign travel after the said inoculation, reported TASS. However, the spokesman agreed that in general this measure will greatly facilitate planning such travel.

The Kremlin representative declined to comment when exactly the president intends to get vaccinated and whether he will wait until the end of Phase Three of clinical trials. "Let’s wait until he makes this decision himself," he concluded. The spokesman promised that this information will be made public. "We won’t keep it a secret," TASS reported while quoting the spokesperson.

On August 11, Russia became the first country to license a Covid-19 vaccine, calling it "Sputnik V" in homage to the world's first satellite, launched by the Soviet Union. But western experts have warned against its use until all internationally approved testing and regulatory steps have been taken. The vaccine is undergoing Phase 3 trials.

The vaccine produced an antibody response in all participants in early-stage trials, according to results published by The Lancet medical journal earlier that were hailed by Moscow as an answer to its critics.

The results of the two trials, conducted in June-July this year and involving 76 participants, showed 100% of participants developing antibodies to the new coronavirus and no serious side effects, The Lancet said.

However, a group of international scientists questioned results from the Lancet medical journal, saying some of the findings appeared improbable, reported Bloomberg.

The researchers flagged concerns over seemingly identical levels of antibodies in a number of study participants who were inoculated with the experimental vaccine. This and other patterns in the data present “several different points of concern," according to an open letter written by Temple University professor Enrico Bucci and signed by more than a dozen other scientists.

Meanwhile, Russia has registered 8,481 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the cumulative case total to 1,176,286, the coronavirus response centre said on Wednesday.

The largest increase was identified in Moscow, where 2,308 new positive tests were registered. A total of 276 new cases were recorded in St. Petersburg and 222 cases were confirmed in the Moscow region. No new cases were recorded in the Chukotka Autonomous Region.

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