Any future coronavirus vaccine will be VOLUNTARY, says Russian health minister

Russia will not make immunization against Covid-19 compulsory, according to Minister of Health Mikhail Murashko. A homegrown vaccine is currently being trialled and could possibly be registered and mass-produced by September.

According to the health ministry, vaccinations in Russia can only be given with a citizen’s expressed consent.

“Today, interest in the vaccine is quite high, because people have realized the full significance of vaccination,” he said. “Over this period [of Covid-19], the number of supporters of vaccination has increased.”

In May, it was suggested that Russia’s Code of Administrative Offenses include a fine for the refusal of compulsory vaccinations. Still in the discussion stage, the new code would allow a fine of up to 7,000 rubles ($100) for citizens refusing immunizations deemed necessary. According to Rospotrebnazdor, the country’s health watchdog, the punishment would only be applied to those who perform work associated with a high risk of contracting infectious diseases.

Murashko also revealed that Russia is currently working on 17 vaccines deemed “promising.” Last week, it was reported by the country’s Ministry of Defense that the testing of a drug developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology was proceeding well, and voluntary trialists had suffered from no side effects. If all goes well, it is expected that the vaccine will be registered in August, and be put into mass production quickly after.

Last month, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko explained that mass vaccination against Covid-19  may begin in Russia in the autumn.