Russian President Vladimir Putin gives a speech during a plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), on June 4, 2021. (Photo by AFP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin says he is ready to open borders to foreign nationals to get vaccinated in the Russian Federation against COVID-19 by domestically-made vaccines for an undisclosed fee.
The Russian leader made the remarks during the plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Friday, saying he had requested the government to prepare the way for foreign citizens seeking to receive Russian coronavirus vaccines.
Putin said that his countrys pharmaceutical industry was willing to continue to increase the production of vaccines "so we are not just fully covering our own needs."
The Sputnik V vaccine, developed by the Moscow-based Gamaleya Institute, is the first vaccine developed in the world against the COVID-19 contagious disease. It is named after the worlds first satellite launched by the Soviet Union.
"We can also provide foreign citizens with a chance to come to Russia and get vaccinated here. I know that given the efficiency of our vaccines, there is a high demand for that," Putin added.
"In that regard, I would like to ask the government to analyze all aspects of this issue until the end of the month. So that, of course, in compliance with all safety measures and sanitary requirements to organize the conditions for foreign citizens to get a chance to get a vaccine on a commercial basis," the Russian president further said, without specifying the cost.
Separately on Friday and on the sidelines of the SPIEF, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the so-called "vaccine tourism" might be started in a month or two, saying that Moscow planned to launch such an initiative "as there is huge demand for" it.
His comments came after Putin said Russia would create all the necessary conditions for foreigners to get vaccinated against the coronavirus on its soil.
Russia has so far approved four COVID-19 vaccines for domestic use, the most widely-used of which is Sputnik V, which has been registered in 65 countries worldwide.
The cost of Sputnik V is less than $10 per shot, with two doses required over a gap of 21 days.