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Foreigners in Moscow Eligible for Russia’s Coronavirus Vaccine

Russia kicked off its nationwide vaccination campaign among medics, teachers and other high-risk workers in recent days.  Sergei Kiselyov / Moskva News Agency

Eligible Moscow-based foreigners can get vaccinated with Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine as part of the mass rollout currently underway, a representative from the Moscow Health Department told The Moscow Times.

Russia kicked off its nationwide vaccination campaign among medics, teachers and other high-risk workers in recent days. 

Foreign nationals including doctors and educators with valid passports, certificates of employment and public health insurance can sign up for the Sputnik V vaccine, which is being distributed at 70 Moscow clinics, a Health Department representative said Tuesday.

A health insurance agency representative told The Moscow Times that only valid residence permit holders qualify for the compulsory health insurance policy, however, effectively excluding tourist and business visa holders.

Before the early December vaccine rollout, Russian health officials denied reports of paid Sputnik V immunization tours from Europe into Russia as a “scam.”

“Covid-19 vaccinations on commercial terms, especially for tourists, are impossible,” Alexei Kuznetsov, an aide to Russia’s health minister, said in October.

“Russians are the absolute priority in the vaccination. Commercial supplies can only be considered after the domestic need is met,” he was quoted as saying.

Sputnik V’s developers have boasted of demand for 1.2 billion doses from more than 50 countries, with production agreements reached with India, China, Brazil, South Korea and other nations.

President Vladimir Putin, who announced Sputnik V’s registration in August before the start of its final clinical trials, acknowledged challenges with scaling up production earlier this fall.

Public polls have also shown low trust levels toward Sputnik V among Russian respondents.

Sputnik V’s developers expect post-registration trials to wrap up in May and plan to release final efficacy results, currently at 91.4% based on data obtained three weeks after the first of two shots, next month.

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