Addressing newly-elected lawmakers to the State Duma, Russia’s lower parliament building, Putin urged delegates gathered in the Kremlin to persuade the Russian public to get vaccinated as the situation in the vast country continues to worsen.
“You know the number of infections is increasing in many areas and medical experts are working in difficult conditions. We all know very well that vaccination can protect us from the virus and from the severe course of the disease. The speed of vaccination ,” Putin said.
“I would like to ask you to be most active in this work, educate people and speak in the media. People trust and listen to your advice and recommendations. It is very important to do this without administrative reprimand. We should Work with people consistently and patiently and explain to them the benefits of prevention from this dreaded disease.”
Putin’s directive came on the same day that Russia recorded 973 deaths in the past 24 hours – the highest number of Covid-19 deaths in the country since the start of the pandemic.
Russia has now recorded more than 900 deaths a day for seven consecutive days. Overall, Russia has officially recorded 218,345 coronavirus deaths according to the country’s coronavirus task force – the most deaths in Europe.
Because of the way Russia classifies coronavirus deaths, the actual death toll could be even higher. The Russian statistics agency, Rosstat, records deaths linked to the coronavirus where the virus was not the sole cause or main cause of death, but are not included in the official death count in Russia’s coronavirus task force.
Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, who is in charge of the country’s coronavirus response, said in a televised government meeting on Friday that 47.8 million Russians had received their first shots and only 42.4 million in a country with a population of about 42.4 million were fully recovered. Vaccinated from. .
A recent survey by independent surveyor Levada-Center found that 52% of Russians are unwilling to vaccinate against the coronavirus with Russian-made vaccines. Russia has not yet approved any foreign-made coronavirus vaccines, and only Russian ones are available nationwide.
The reluctance to vaccinate reflects widespread distrust of the establishment, Alexandra Arkhipova, a social anthropologist and researcher at RANEPA University in Moscow, previously told CNN.
He also said that Russians rely on doctors they know personally rather than on government medical institutions.
Thirty-eight Russian regions have introduced mandatory vaccine requirements for some citizens and workers in public-facing roles, Anna Popova, the head of Russia’s public health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, said on Tuesday.
The Kremlin expressed its dismay at the country’s low vaccination rates with Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday saying “the epidemic is not going away, it is returning in new waves … the only thing that saves lives is jab.”
Peskov stressed that the government is using every opportunity to appeal to Russians to vaccinate, even urging media outlets to “repeat it a hundred times a day”.
The Russian state media has become increasingly critical of people reluctant or unwilling about vaccination. Earlier this month, Dmitry Kiselyov, a top Russian anchor on state television, told viewers that “citizens, for the most part, don’t give a damn about themselves or others,” despite recent records of death figures and infection rates.