Vladimir Putin says Russia could reach COVID herd immunity by autumn

Jimmy Nsubuga
·3-min read
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - APRIL, 21 (RUSSIA OUT): Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his annual address to the Federal Assembly, on April,21,2021, in Moscow, Russia. President Vladimir Putin delivered his 17th state-of-the nation speech on Wednesday. (Photo by Konstantin Zavrazhin/Getty Images)
Russian president Vladimir Putin delivers his annual address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow. (Getty)

Vladimir Putin wants Russia to reach COVID-19 herd immunity by autumn.

The Russian president, who received the second of two vaccine shots last week, used his annual state-of-the-nation speech to parliament on Wednesday to urge more people to get a jab.

Russia has vaccinated more than 8 million people out of around 144 million, a senior official said last week.

It is not clear how many of those have received both shots, but the Kremlin has said demand is disappointing.

Putin said: "Everyone must have the opportunity to be vaccinated, as this will allow for so-called collective immunity to be developed in the autumn.

"A solution to this problem lies in our and your hands, in the hands of all citizens. I once again address all Russian citizens with the call: get vaccinated."

MOSCOW, RUSSIA  APRIL 21, 2021: A man receives an injection of the Gam-COVID-Vac (Sputnik V) vaccine at a temporary COVID-19 vaccination site set up at the TsUM Central Department Store. Valery Sharifulin/TASS (Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)
A man receives an injection of the Gam-COVID-Vac (Sputnik V) vaccine in Moscow. (Getty)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA  APRIL 14, 2021: A woman receives an injection of the Gam-COVID-Vac vaccine (under the brand name of Sputnik V) at a mobile COVID-19 vaccination site at the Arena Plaza shopping mall; the vaccine is provided free of charge and without prior sign-up. Mikhail Tereshchenko/TASS (Photo by Mikhail Tereshchenko\TASS via Getty Images)
Vaccine take-up in Russia has been 'disappointing'. (Getty)

Russia has three coronavirus vaccines, the most well-known of which is Sputnik V. 

Moscow has also given approval to two others, EpiVacCorona and CoviVac.

But there have been issues with the global rollout of vaccines, with poorer countries not receiving enough.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and global vaccine charities launched the COVAX programme last April to distribute coronavirus jabs to some of the world's poorest people.

The scheme has faced setbacks including production glitches, a lack of support from wealthy nations and a recent move by India, the biggest vaccine manufacturer, to curb its exports.

Last week WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said some countries that signed up to COVAX had yet to receive any doses, none had received enough and some were not receiving their second-round vaccine allocations on time.

At an event organised by the Gavi Vaccine Alliance to boost support for the initiative, officials appealed for another $2bn by June for the programme, which aims to buy up to 1.8 billion doses in 2021.

COVAX has shipped more than 38 million vaccine doses to 111 countries in seven weeks, most of them AstraZeneca's shot.

Africa has so far been relatively unscathed by COVID, and some experts fear stuttering rollouts could draw out the outbreak in the region, potentially leading to more deaths and economically damaging restrictions in the poorest continent in the world.

Many African countries, already facing a shortage of affordable vaccines, are stunned by the unprecedented scale of the distribution challenge when doses do arrive.

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference organized by Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus, at the WHO headquarters in Geneva Switzerland July 3, 2020. Fabrice Coffrini/Pool via REUTERS
World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is concerned about global vaccine inequality. (Reuters)

On Monday, climate activist Greta Thunberg announced her foundation will donate €100,000 (£86,000) to support more equitable global COVID-vaccine distribution.

She tweeted: "About 1 in 4 people in high-income countries have received a COVID-19 vaccine, compared with just 1 in more than 500 in low-income countries.”

Thunberg had earlier here hit out at nations she said were unwilling to share vaccines with those with little access to the drugs.

She has also said she does not plan to go to the UN climate conference due to be held in Scotland in November over concerns that inequality of access to COVID vaccines will leave many countries unable to attend.

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Meanwhile, at least 12 of the EU's 27 member states have said they are confident of vaccinating 70% of their adult population by mid-July, the bloc's vaccine taskforce has said.

The European Commission has set a target of inoculating 70% of the EU's adult population by the end of the summer, banking on a big increase in vaccine deliveries to accelerate its drive.

In the UK, the vaccine rollout continues to go well, with 33,032,120 first doses and 10,425,790 second doses given as of Wednesday.

Watch: How England will leave lockdown