After previously touting that his own daughter was among the first to take the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, standing in as a prominent early ‘guinea pig’ of sorts vouching for its safety, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he plans to receive it soon, according to a story in Newsweek on Monday.
Without specifying precisely when he would receive the vaccine, which was met with approval by government regulators in August, Putin reportedly indicated it would come before his next trip to South Korea.
“Putin has not yet committed publicly to receiving the vaccine—the development of which has been financed by the state Russian Direct Investment Fund—but told South Korean President Moon Jae-in by phone Monday that he would have the shot before a planned visit to Seoul, Newsweek reports.
Moon personally invited Putin to come to South Korea during a call upon the occasion of the 30th anniversary of establishment of the Russian-South Korean diplomatic relations.
According to a summary of the call, Russian media sources indicate that Putin told Moon:
“I will come to South Korea… I will personally take the Russian vaccine and go.”
Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine was developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya research institute with help from the Russian defense ministry. It was tested at Moscow’s state medical university.
Initially met with broad global skepticism, Russia’s health ministry last month announced it expects to begin mass anti-coronavirus vaccinations by October, with the first rounds to be administered to front line medical workers as well as teachers.
Global critics have charged Russia appears to be ‘rushing’ out a vaccine amid the international race to come up with a preventative ‘cure’ for countries’ populations.
And apparently Putin plans to be among these front line early recipients of the Russian vaccine as well, given his international travel schedule.