MOSCOW — Authorities in Moscow and the surrounding region on Wednesday made COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for those working in retail, education, health care, public transport and other trades that provide services to a large number of people.
Russian public health officials ordered businesses and institutions to ensure that 60% of staff get at least one shot of a coronavirus vaccine by July 15 and are fully vaccinated by August 15.
“We simply must do everything to carry out mass vaccination in the shortest time possible and stop the terrible disease,” Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said.
At the same time, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there were no plans to order mandatory vaccinations nationwide.
Russia was among the first countries in the world to deploy a coronavirus vaccine, but its vaccination rates have lagged behind many other nations, with only 18 million people — or just 12% of the 146-million population — receiving at least one shot as of early June.
In Moscow, where coronavirus cases have soared in recent weeks, only 1.8 million people, or 14% of the population, have received a shot.
The Russian authorities have reported more than 5.2 million confirmed virus cases and over 127,000 deaths. On Tuesday, officials registered 13,397 new infections, nearly half of which were reported in Moscow.
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