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Putin Says He Will Get Vaccinated Against Coronavirus On March 23

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaking on March 22

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that he will get vaccinated against the coronavirus on March 23.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov added that Putin, who has been criticized for being slow to get vaccinated in a country where there is widespread hesitancy over the vaccine, will get "one of the three" Russian-made injections, but did not say which one.

Peskov added that Putin's vaccination will not be a public event.

Putin said it was vital to ramp up production of vaccines for domestic use. So far, some 4.3 million people in Russia have received both doses of a two-shot vaccine, which is less than 5 percent of the country's 146 million people, putting Russia behind many other countries in its rollout.

Russia has the world's fourth-highest number of coronavirus infections at 4.4 million, and the seventh-highest death toll from COVID-19 at 94,231.

The country has developed three COVID-19 vaccines: Sputnik V by the Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow; EpiVacCorona, produced by the Vector Institute in Novosibirsk; and CoviVac, from the Chumakov Center in St. Petersburg.

In August, Russia approved the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, prompting scientists around the world to question its safety and efficacy because it was registered before the results of Phase 3 studies were made available.

However, peer-reviewed, late-stage trial results published in The Lancet medical journal last month showed the two-dose regimen of Sputnik V was 91.6 percent effective against symptomatic COVID-19, about the same level as the leading Western-developed vaccines.

Still, a recent survey by the Levada Center, an independent polling agency, showed the number of Russians hesitant to get the Sputnik V shot grew in February to 62 percent from 58 percent in December.

The EpiVacCorona and CoviVac vaccines also received regulatory approval before completing late-stage trials

With reporting by TASS and Interfax