Russia's president Vladimir Putin will receive the Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a Russian state TV channel on Sunday.
"He said he will be vaccinated, he made this decision and was waiting until all formalities are completed," the spokesman was quoted as saying to Rossiya 1 TV Channel on its website.
Russia launched a voluntary vaccination programme with the Russia-made Sputnik V vaccine earlier in December, starting with the most vulnerable groups in Moscow.
People over the age of 60 may begin to apply for shots on Monday, Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on his website on Sunday, the day after the Russian health ministry said the vaccine was approved for use by elderly people after a separate trial.
68-year-old Putin said earlier that the Russian vaccine was effective and safe and he saw no reason not to be vaccinated adding that he was waiting until it became available.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak in Russia, Putin has mainly worked remotely, held meetings via videolink and limited travel.
He said in August that one of his daughters had taken part in the clinical trial of the vaccine and felt well afterwards.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.