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Russia to miss 60% COVID-19 vaccination target by autumn, registers record virus death toll

Russia to miss 60% COVID-19 vaccination target by autumn, registers record virus death toll

FILE PHOTO: A man receives a dose of Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac) vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) administered by a healthcare worker from a mobile vaccination team in Stavropol, Russia June 23, 2021. REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko

MOSCOW: Russia will fail to vaccinate 60 per cent of its population against COVID-19 by the autumn as planned due to sluggish demand for the shots, the Kremlin said on Tuesday (Jun 29), after the country recorded its highest number of daily deaths from the virus.

Russian authorities have blamed a recent surge in COVID-19 cases on the infectious Delta variant, which they say accounts for around 90 per cent of all new cases, and on the reluctance of many Russians to get vaccinated.

Low uptake, despite free and widely available vaccines, has forced the authorities in some regions to introduce compulsory vaccination for some workers and to create incentives for others such as offering the chance to win a car or an apartment.

READ: Putin says COVID-19 trend is getting worse, Kremlin pushes revaccination

"We see that the number of people wanting to get vaccinated has increased this week," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

"But before that, there was low uptake even if all the conditions were in place (to get vaccinated). It's clear that this vaccination target cannot be achieved. Targets will be pushed back."

Peskov's comments came after Dozhd, an independent television station, reported that Russia was dropping its goal to get 60 per cent of the population vaccinated by the autumn.

READ: As Moscow gets tougher on COVID-19, some Russians buy fake proof of vaccination

At a government meeting on Tuesday, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said that 23 million people had received at least the first dose of a two-shot vaccine, while Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said he hopes that up to 2 million people would be vaccinated in the Russian capital within the next six weeks.

The government's coronavirus task force said on Tuesday that 652 people had died as a result of the virus in the past 24 hours, a record daily high.

Russia has recorded about 5.5 million infections since the start of the pandemic.

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Source: Reuters/gs

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