MOSCOW (Reuters) -President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday he wanted Russia to reach collective COVID-19 immunity by the autumn and called on Russians to get vaccinated against the new coronavirus.
Russia has vaccinated more than 8 million citizens out of around 144 million, a senior official said last week. It is not clear how many of those have received both shots. The Kremlin has said demand to get vaccinated in Russia is disappointing.
Putin, who himself received the second of two vaccine shots last week, used his annual state-of-the-nation speech on Wednesday to top officials and both houses of parliament to urge more Russians to follow suit.
“Everyone must have the opportunity to be vaccinated, as this will allow for so-called collective immunity to be developed in the autumn,” he said.
“A solution to this problem lies in our and your hands, in the hands of all citizens. I once again address all Russian citizens with the call: get vaccinated.”
Russia has three coronavirus vaccines, the most well-known of which is Sputnik V. Moscow has also given approval to two others, EpiVacCorona and CoviVac.
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, Andrew Osborn, Polina Ivanova; writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Mark Trevelyan/Andrew Osborn)