President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that he was vaccinated against the coronavirus with Russia’s Sputnik V jab, lifting the veil on a months-long secret that did little to quell Russians’ vaccine hesitancy.
The Kremlin said in spring that it would keep the name of the Russian-made vaccine that Putin had received on March 23 and April 14 a “secret.”
During his annual marathon call-in Wednesday, the president said he decided to reveal the secret due to questions from the public and despite requests to keep it confidential to avoid giving a competitive advantage to any one vaccine.
“I didn’t consult with doctors, I looked at my acquaintances,” Putin said at the start of this year’s Direct Line event broadcast on state television, revealing that he had received Sputnik V.
“I didn’t feel anything at all after the first injection, only sensitivity at the injection site four hours later. After the second shot, my temperature was 37.2 [degrees Celsius]. I went to bed and woke up with 36.6,” he said.
The president added that his daughter, whom he has yet to name, was also vaccinated with Sputnik V.
Russian media has reported that demand for Covid-19 vaccinations rose “dramatically” after Putin received his first dose. Polls show Russia as one of the world’s most vaccine-skeptic countries.
This month, authorities in more than a dozen regions including Moscow made vaccinations compulsory for workers who interact with the public as vaccination rates stalled despite free vaccinations and a range of perks. These vaccination mandates are coupled with restrictions on services provided to unvaccinated people.
Putin said Wednesday that he still opposes mandatory vaccinations but said that the regional orders and restrictions are legal.
Putin said 10% of those who had been vaccinated got infected with Covid-19, but in a milder form. A Direct Line host later cited Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova in correcting Putin that 2.5%, not 10% that he originally named, get infected after receiving Sputnik V.