Russian President Vladimir Putin called on Russians Friday to get inoculated against COVID-19 and said Moscow was prepared to allow foreigners to enter the country to get the vaccine dose.
The 68-year-old leader used the country’s main economic forum in the second city of Saint Petersburg to issue a new plea for Russian nationals to get immunized, as authorities struggle to scale up inoculation efforts.
Putin told the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum that “every adult citizen of Russia has the opportunity to get vaccinated completely free of charge.”
“I’d like to ask our citizens to use this opportunity to protect themselves and their loved ones.”
The Kremlin chief said Russian authorities had not registered a single death linked to the COVID-19 vaccine.
Putin reiterated that he himself had been inoculated and that the shots have few side effects, adding that Russia was ready to start inoculating foreigners and tasked the government with organizing access to paid vaccination programs for them.
Russia could become open for “vaccine tourism” from July, Kirill Dmitriyev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) which finances the vaccine, said at the forum.