Editor’s note: Putin wants to have his cake and eat it too. He claims to still be “opposed” to compulsory vaccination but this “opposition” must be philosophical only as he in the same breath defends compulsory vaccination in the regions as both necessary and lawful. His “opposition” is sophistry. He is not (yet) in favor of adding COVID injections to the schedule of vaccines mandatory early in childhood and claims that makes him someone who is “opposed to compulsory COVID vaccination,” that he in a different context very much supports, despite having previously repeatedly ruled it out.
It constitutes the biggest U-turn of his career second only to going back on his assurances he would not seek a 5th term in office after the current one expires in 2024.
Russian President Vladimir Putin remains opposed to introducing compulsory vaccination against COVID-19, he said on Wednesday during his annual Q&A session known as the Direct Line.
“I said once as you remember that I don’t support compulsory vaccination. And I continue to adhere to the same point of view, ” Putin stressed, answering a question whether vaccination against COVID-19 should be voluntary.
Russia launched mass vaccination of citizens above 18 years of age on January 18. Four Russian vaccines against COVID-19 have been registered in the country now. The most widespread drug is Sputnik V developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology.
In Russia, vaccination against coronavirus is voluntary. Compulsory jabs are required only in some regions and for certain groups of citizens, including staff of the services sector.
The authorities of a number of Russian regions have introduced mandatory vaccination against COVID-19 for certain groups of citizens strictly in accordance with the law, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during his annual Q&A session on Wednesday.
The head of state explained that one could understand the vaccination situation by turning to the 1998 law, which refers to the immune protection of the population.
“The second component of that law says that, in the event of an increase in the number of cases, in the event of an epidemic in certain regions of Russia, regional heads have the right to introduce mandatory vaccination for certain groups of citizens, especially those from risk groups, upon the recommendation of the chief sanitary doctors,” Putin said, adding that there is no confusion here, and everyone is acting in line with the law.
As Putin explained, another component of that law includes the national immunization calendar, and prescriptions there are mandatory. “There were proposals from colleagues to move COVID vaccination to this section, but members of the State Duma did not support them,” he noted. That is why vaccination against COVID-19 has not been included in that calendar and is not mandatory, the president disclosed.