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Putin opposes mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations

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Russian President, Vladimir Putin, today said he opposed introducing mandatory vaccinations in Russia despite a surge in coronavirus infections in the country and sluggish inoculation rates. 

  Putin stated his opposition to mandatory vaccinations during his annual phone-in broadcast on television.

  “I do not support mandatory vaccinations,” Putin said.

  Asked if he supported a new nationwide lockdown, he said regional authorities were instead promoting localized mandatory vaccinations and other measures to avoid introducing new quarantines.

  But Russia earlier today reported 669 coronavirus deaths over the past 24 hours, a record number of fatalities for the second day in a row, according to a government tally.

  The country is grappling with a spike of infections spurred by the highly infectious Delta variant, with authorities struggling to convince Russians to get vaccinated.

  One of the pandemic hotspots is the city of Saint Petersburg, which is due to host a Euro 2020 quarter-final on Friday in front of thousands of fans, many of them flying in from abroad for the match.

  Putin said that some 23 million Russians had received the jab and said the country’s homegrown vaccines were better than foreign alternatives, naming AstraZeneca and Pfizer.

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