President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday issued a new plea for Russians to get vaccinated against the coronavirus but stressed that the jabs would not become compulsory.

Russia registered the world’s first coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V in August 2020, but vaccine scepticism is a major problem in Moscow and other Russian cities.

Last week Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said Moscow was the first world capital to launch a mass vaccination campaign.

However, of Moscow’s some 12 million residents, only 1.3 million had been vaccinated and the percentage of those vaccinated in the Russian capital was lower than in any European city, he said.

Speaking at a government meeting on Wednesday, Putin urged Russians to cast away any remaining doubts and said that the Russian vaccines were “the most reliable and safest” in the world.

 

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