In August 2020, Russia became the first country in the world to register a Covid-19 vaccine. President Vladimir Putin announced the news on national television and said one of his daughters had already been vaccinated. At the time, Russia was set to race ahead of other countries in its efforts to vaccinate its population. Instead, 10 months after Sputnik V’s approval, Russia’s vaccination rate is one of the lowest in countries where vaccines are widely available.

Just 14 percent of Russia’s 146 million people have been vaccinated with at least one dose, compared to 53.5 percent of Americans, according to Our World in Data, a monitoring project based at the University of Oxford. An ambitious plan to vaccinate 30 million Russians by June — which involved giving away cars and free groceries — has fallen short by a third.


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