President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinErdoğan says Turkey plans to buy another Russian defense system EU 'denounces' Russian malicious cyber activity aimed at member states Navalny knocks Apple, Google for removing voting app MORE on Wednesday urged Russians to get vaccinated against COVID-19, while revealing for the first time that he received the Sputnik V shot.
Putin made the appeal during his annual televised phone-in session, when he discussed how he had received two doses of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine earlier this year, Reuters reported.
In April, Putin reportedly received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, though details were not shared at the time. Putin said during Wednesday's call-in session that two months ago he had been asked not to disclose which vaccine he had received so as not to give one vaccine maker a competitive advantage.
"I thought that I needed to be protected for as long as possible. So I chose to be vaccinated with Sputnik V. The military is getting vaccinated with Sputnik V, and after all I'm the commander-in-chief," he said.
While emphasizing that all four Russian-made COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, Putin took a swipe at Western-made vaccines.
"As you can see, everything is in order, and thank God we don't have such tragic situations after vaccinations like AstraZeneca or Pfizer," Putin said, according to Reuters.
Distribution of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine has been suspended in many European countries after concerns were raised about a possible link between its shot and blood clots. In April, the European Medicines Agency said the link could not be ruled out and recommended that blood clots be listed as a rare side effect.
Putin on Wednesday described his experience with Sputnik V vaccine.
"After the first shot, I didn't feel anything at all. About four hours later, there was some tenderness where I had the shot. I did the second at midday. At midnight, I measured my temperature. It was 37.2 (Celsius). I went to sleep, woke up and my temperature was 36.6. That was it," he said.
Russia has seen a record number of coronavirus deaths over the past two days as vaccination rates remain low in the country. On Wednesday, authorities reported 669 new virus-related deaths.
Putin said Wednesday that 23 million of the country's 144 million residents had been vaccinated.