Putin to Get Coronavirus Vaccine Shot in Russia on Tuesday

MOSCOW (AP) -
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting dedicated to the production of vaccines against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) via a video conference call at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia, Monday. (Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via Reuters)

President Vladimir Putin said he will get a coronavirus vaccine shot on Tuesday, several months after widespread vaccination started in Russia.

Kremlin opponents have criticized Putin for not getting vaccinated amid a comparatively slow rollout of the shot in Russia, arguing that his reluctance is contributing to the already extensive hesitance about the vaccine. Russia, where only 4.3% of the 146-million population have received at least one dose, lags behind a number of countries in terms of the vaccination rate.

Putin told a meeting with government officials and vaccine developers on Monday that he will get his shot “tomorrow,” without specifying which coronavirus vaccine out of the three authorized for use in Russia he will take.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov also wouldn’t say which one of the three Putin will take on Tuesday, saying only that “all of them are good and reliable.”

Last month, Russia’s Kommersant newspaper reported that Putin planned to get vaccinated at the end of the summer or beginning of the fall this year. The newspaper quoted Putin telling Russian media managers at a closed-door meeting that he didn’t want to do it for publicity’s sake in front of cameras and that he had other vaccinations he needs to get first.

Peskov said Monday he didn’t “expect” Putin’s vaccination on Tuesday “to be a public event.”