Come to Russia & get a jab: Putin orders government to plan to allow foreigners to obtain Covid-19 vaccines on arrival in country
No country will be safe until everyone has access to vaccines against Covid-19, Russia's President Vladimir Putin said on Friday, instructing officials to prepare new plans to allow foreigners to travel to the country to get jabs.
Announcing that the global economy is "getting back to normal" after the pandemic froze life across much of the world last year, Putin warned that the recovery is "progressing unevenly." This, he said, "generates serious political risks," and argued that not enough was being done to support developing nations to recover from the crisis.
"Only about 10% of the world's population has been fully vaccinated or received the first dose of the vaccine," he said, "while hundreds of millions of people simply do not have access to it due to the fact that their nations do not have the technology, production capacity or funds to purchase vaccines." He argued that advances made in developed nations to immunize their populations could be undermined as long as those in less prosperous states continued to be infected.Also on rt.com ‘Health is beyond politics’: WHO’s top official in Europe ‘optimistic’ about Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine emergency authorization
"I am asking the government to look into all aspects of this issue by the end of the month so that, taking into account safety requirements and, of course, public health conditions, [we will] organize a way for foreign citizens to pay for vaccination in our country," Putin announced.
“We not only fully meet our own needs, but we can also provide for foreigners to come to Russia and get vaccinated here,” the president added.
While the Sputnik V Covid-19 jab, developed by Moscow's Gamaleya Institute, has been approved for use in 66 countries, foreign residents are dependent on their governments to secure sufficient supplies and often wait their turn for an appointment under national immunization program rules.
READ MORE: Some 60% of German respondents would like to get Russian-made Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine – poll
Earlier in the day, Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which funded the Sputnik vaccine, said that talks were being conducted with "a number of key ministries” to open up so-called vaccine tours for those willing to travel for inoculation. “We see interest from many Europeans and citizens of other countries who would like to come to Russia to be vaccinated. We believe that such an initiative could be made available from July,” he said.
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