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Herd immunity without prosecution for refusal to be vaccinated — Putin on COVID

The President stressed that Russia needed herd immunity of about 80%

MOSCOW, December 23. /TASS/. The level of herd immunity against coronavirus may achieve 80% in Russia by the second quarter of 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at his annual year-end press conference on Thursday.

No "prosecution measures" should be imposed for the refusal to receive the vaccine, as "action force is always equal to reaction force," the president said emphasizing that it is necessary to patiently explain why immunization is essential and to encourage people to receive the vaccine. The president is convinced that the politicians who oppose vaccination are merely trying to earn "cheap points on the nation’s health."

TASS has summarized Putin’s key statements on the pandemic.

About herd immunity

"Why do we have high mortality rates? The level of vaccination and herd immunity is low - 59.4%," he said. "This is the answer."

"We need herd immunity of about 80%. I hope next year, maybe at the end of the first quarter or during the second quarter, we will reach that level," he added.

About prosecution for refusal to be vaccinated

No one should be prosecuted in Russia for refusing to receive the vaccine.

"It is not about any political will at all, the point is that action force is always equal to reaction force. As soon as you start exerting pressure, there will always be ways to get around this intention to push, as our people are inventive," the head of state noted.

"People (opponents of vaccination - TASS) need to be respected regardless of their position, [we should] patiently explain to them [why it is] crucial to take certain measures," the president said.

He added that it was necessary to simultaneously fight against real violations.

"Vaccination certificates are being forged and more than 200 criminal cases have already been instituted," he said. "Yes, here we need to fight it."

About mutual recognition of vaccines

"I am saying there is a need for mutual recognition of vaccines and making them available worldwide as soon as possible and as much as possible," he said. "Otherwise, we won’t cope with this problem globally."

About earning "cheap points on the nation’s health"

"Nowadays, those who ruled the large country back in Soviet times and who brought it to collapse, are, by the way, at the forefront of those who are fighting against vaccination to raise their ratings among that part of the population who voice doubt about the need for vaccination," Putin said.

"However, this position is not fair. If people are educated, understanding and responsible towards their voters and the people they are called to protect, they must take a principled stand, instead of confusing the issue and earning cheap points on the health of the nation."

About governors’ steps

"As in any big undertaking, something perhaps could have been done more accurately and more vigorously," he said. "But on the whole, regional heads were utterly responsible [for their efforts against the pandemic]."

About expanded medical examination

"[The system of] preventive medical examination should function steadily and systematically, beyond any COVID restrictions and difficulties. Post-COVID patients do need it, as COVID hits all the systems of the body," Putin said. "A very good system has been created and fine-tuned. I hope that it will be expanded".