Russian authorities should try to convince people to sign up for vaccines before talking about forcing them to roll up their sleeves, President Vladimir Putin has said as the country grapples with more Covid-19 deaths.
Speaking on Sunday in a virtual meeting with Francesco Rocca, the head of the Red Cross, Putin said that vaccination of the public is “The most important task” politicians now face during the pandemic.
“We try to follow a path of persuasion rather than coercion”, the president said, commenting on the approach to get gunshots across the world’s largest country. “We try to fight biased opinions and prejudices against vaccination. “
According to the Russian leader, this method has seen positive results, especially recently. “It is important to persuade people to understand that vaccination is necessary,” he said.
Putin’s comments come shortly after lawmakers from the ruling United Russia party were instructed on how to tackle popular anti-vaxxer misconceptions, including myths that the pandemic is being used to control the people.
Earlier this year in the Russian capital, authorities made vaccination against the coronavirus mandatory for employees in many public sectors, including catering, transport and museums. Those who refuse can be fired from work without pay.
However, the country’s national parliament plans to implement a nationwide QR code system that would restrict access to public spaces and transportation based on immunization status, which critics say effectively makes it impossible. to live and work without being vaccinated.
The regional authorities have also imposed compulsory vaccination in certain sectors of the population. Last month, health authorities in St. Petersburg signed a decree requiring compulsory vaccination against Covid-19 for people over 60, as well as those with chronic illnesses.
Although Moscow recorded the world’s first Covid jab more than a year ago and made the snaps freely accessible, Russia has seen its vaccination rollout delayed by high levels of skepticism and reluctance. Last Friday, Sergey Netesov, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and professor at Novosibirsk State University, noted that less than 40% of citizens are fully vaccinated, while around 45% received their first injection. The academic said it was one of the lowest tally in the world.
The Russian government approved the launch of a cash prize program earlier this year to boost citizens’ motivation to come forward and get vaccinated. As part of the initiative, citizens aged 18 or older who had been bitten against Covid had a chance to win approximately $ 1,360.