Politician who had eight Covid vaccines hospitalized 'on ventilator' – reports
The leader of Russia’s ultra-nationalist LDPR party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who previously alleged that he had received eight rounds of coronavirus shots, has been rushed to a hospital in Moscow with pneumonia, a number of media outlets have reported.
A source told TASS on Wednesday that the 75-year-old politician had been taken to the heavily guarded Central Clinical Hospital, also known as the Kremlin Clinic, where he has reportedly been convalescing for a few days.
According to the interlocutor, he is in “serious condition,” and some say doctors have diagnosed him with fluid in the lungs. A number of commenters online have speculated he has contracted Covid-19.
Later in the afternoon, newspaper RBK reported that he had been placed on a ventilator. "He is in a very serious condition, critical. Nobody can gives any guarantees [about a recovery]," it quoted an anonymous respondent "close to the party" as saying.
The Telegram channel Mash claimed the LDPR leader was hospitalized with bilateral pneumonia, which developed as a result of Covid-19. According to the outlet’s sources,
“50 to 75% of his lungs are affected.”
However, playing down talks of Zhirinovsky’s condition, the party’s press service later said that the politician “feels fine and is continuing to work,” but did not rule out claims that he was in the hospital.
In December, the politician documented himself getting his seventh Covid-19 jab on his Telegram channel. “Get vaccinated, friends,” he urged. “I’ve already gotten the Sputnik V vaccine, and, this time, CoviVac from the Chumakov Center … in total, it’s my seventh shot since September 2020. And I haven’t been sick with coronavirus once, I feel good.” He has since claimed to have had an eighth injection.
Zhirinovsky, who has led the LDPR since 1992, has consistently polled as Russia's most popular non-government politician. Just last week, a poll from Levada (recognised as a "foreign agent" by Moscow) placed his "trust rating" at 9%, well ahead of Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov on 4% and Western-backed Alexey Navalny with 3%.
In January, a preliminary joint Russian-Italian study found that Omicron-specific neutralizing antibodies were detected in the blood serum of 74.2% of people who had received Sputnik in comparison with 56.9% of those who had received Pfizer-BioNTech. The research was sponsored by the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which financed Moscow’s Gamaleya Center in developing the formula.
Russia has faced a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths in recent weeks and reported a record daily high of 183,103 infections on Wednesday.
The country has recorded over 337,300 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. However, the total excess fatality count stands at 995,000.
Despite rolling out the world’s first Covid jab well over a year ago and making shots easily accessible, just over half of Russia’s population is fully immunized, with its inoculation campaign hit hard due to vaccine hesitancy and reluctance. Authorities have repeatedly set out evidence showing that vaccination is the best way for citizens to prevent being seriously ill as a result of the virus.