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19 Sep, 2020 14:30

Passport, visa, vaccination? Covid-19 immunization may become compulsory for international travel, says Russian scientist

Passport, visa, vaccination? Covid-19 immunization may become compulsory for international travel, says Russian scientist

Russia’s chief infectious diseases specialist believes mandatory vaccination against coronavirus for those traveling abroad would be an effective measure to combat the pandemic.

Speaking to Russian news agency TASS, Vladimir Chulanov explained that forcing travelers to receive a jab would be up to each individual country, but it would be a “reasonable measure” to help prevent the spread of the virus.

“Vaccination is the most effective method of protection,” Chulanov said. “If we have a vaccine, such a measure may be introduced, but it all depends on countries’ decisions and the overall epidemiological situation.” 

Chulanov is not the first Russian official to float the idea of compulsory vaccinations. On September 10, Sergey Glagolev, an adviser to Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko, suggested making vaccination against Covid-19 a condition for international travel, explaining that most people travel by plane, using major airports, where there are many people from different countries.

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“Unfortunately, so far, PCR and antibodies tests guarantee that a patient is not sick for a rather limited amount of time,” Glagolev said. “It seems like Covid-19 is here to stay, so a more optimal approach would be to introduce international vaccination schemes.” 

On August 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the country had registered the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine, named Sputnik V. Created by Moscow’s Gamaleya Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology, the development process has been criticized by some Western countries for its supposedly unsafe rapid development and improper testing. The vaccine is currently undergoing its third trial phase, in which 40,000 Muscovites will receive the vaccination and be monitored for side effects.

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