Putin plans to offer COVID-19 vaccines to visiting foreigners for a fee
ST PETERSBURG: Russia could provide coronavirus vaccines against payment to foreigners traveling to the country, President Vladimir Putin said at an economic forum on Friday June 4, as Moscow seeks to bolster its global reputation with its Sputnik V.
Speaking to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Putin said many people come to Russia to get vaccinated. “I ask the government to study this issue in depth by the end of the month, to establish conditions for foreign citizens to be vaccinated in our country for a fee,” he said without providing more. details.
The Russian vaccine has been approved by 66 countries and is under review by the World Health Organization and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Approval from the latter agency is required for use in the European Union.
The pace of vaccination in Russia has been slower than in many developed countries. The health minister said last week that around 17 million of Russia’s 144 million people had received at least one dose.
Those attending the conference were required to undergo coronavirus tests and wear masks and gloves. Moscow presents the rally as the Russian version of the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Many other big global events have been canceled or moved online amid the pandemic.
Attended by a few thousand people, SPIEF is intended to attract foreign investment to Russia, but activity has been more moderate this year.
Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil company, has skipped its usual booth, and its CEO, Igor Sechin, has decided not to hold a public panel on the global oil market as it has traditionally done.
Sechin, in a mask and gloves, told a Reuters correspondent to “keep his distance” when approached. The former and current CEOs of BP Plc, Bob Dudley and Bernard Looney, were there masked. BP has a 19.75% stake in Rosneft.