Staunton, April 13 – Since Russia developed the Sputnik-5 vaccine, Russian officials from Putin on down have stressed that getting it will be completely voluntary; but now Moscow is moving toward making vaccinations a legal requirement for certain groups of citizens including medical workers, veterinarians, teachers, and others.
As announced, the plans will not only require people in these categories, to which others may be added, to get vaccinated now but will also insist that they get booster shots once every three years thereafter (profile.ru/society/vakcina-13-dlya-kogo-privivka-ot-koronavirusa-stanet-obyazatelnoj-844468/).
Today, Russian officials announced that they had registered 8173 new cases and 338 new deaths from the coronavirus over the last 24 hours as the pandemic continued throughout most of the country (t.me/COVID2019_official/2767, regnum.ru/news/society/3233862.html and https://regnum.ru/news/society/3232701.html).
One reason numbers continue to be high is that ever more people in various parts of the Russian Federation are refusing to wear masks or maintain social distance and so the coronavirus is continuing to spread (asiarussia.ru/news/27219/). Another is that many who appear to have recovered may still be spreading the disease (kp.ru/daily/27264/4397408/).
Facing lagging demand for vaccinations, Russian officials are seeking ways to deliver more shots. In Moscow, for example, officials are now offering to send medical workers to individual residences so that those who have mobility issues can be vaccinated (regnum.ru/news/3241488.html).
In addition, more Muslim leaders in Russia are issuing statements that getting the vaccination does not violate Ramadan restrictions (regnum.ru/news/3241206.html). And Moscow announced that the Russian vaccine would soon be produced in Serbia, Iran and Italy (regnum.ru/news/3241898.html).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied that Moscow had any political motive for suspending air travel to and from Turkey, as Aeroflot announced it was sending special flights to bring back the some 30,000 Russians there now (regnum.ru/news/3241583.html and regnum.ru/news/3241990.html).
· Moscow has now expanded the requirement that visitors to Russia submit negative coronavirus test results from just those coming in by air to all who arrive regardless of method (rospotrebnadzor.ru/about/info/news/news_details.php?ELEMENT_ID=17467).
· Russian regions are struggling about how to hold Victory Day parades with some lifting all restrictions, others banning the elderly, including war veterans from attending, and many insisting on severe limits of attendance (regnum.ru/news/3241303.html, regnum.ru/news/3241635.html, regnum.ru/news/3241697.html and regnum.ru/news/3241758.html).