There will be no exceptions for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who belongs in an age group that has not yet been approved for vaccination against the novel coronavirus, according to his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, on air at Russian radio station KP.
“No one will ever produce an individual shot for anyone, even if it is the head of state,” Peskov said, replying to a question inquiring as to whether Russian researchers would develop a vaccine specifically tailored to Putin.
Peskov explained that “the vaccine would require specific data, and thus research is conducted on exactly these groups. This is what the president spoke about”.
During his traditional end-of-year presser on Thursday, Putin, 68, said that he has not yet been immunised for COVID-19, as he does not meet the permissible age limit for existing vaccines, noting, however, that he will do it when the moment becomes possible for his age group.
Russia is currently conducting additional trials of its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to prove its safety for people above the age of 60, in a bid to raise the existing age limit, an aide to Russian Health Minister Alexey Kuznetsov noted.
The trials are being led by the vaccine's developer, the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, and involve 100 volunteers older than 60.
A mass vaccination campaign has meanwhile kicked off in a number of central regions in Russia, mostly involving primary risk groups like medics and teachers, with the shot due to become available as part of a major national healthcare project in a greater number of regions starting 1 January, 2021.