Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen on June 30, 2020.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he wants tourists to visit Russia to get the new Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine.
  • The Sputnik V is still under review by the World Health Organisation and European Medicines Agency.
  • Russia is currently reporting nearly 9,000 new Covid-19 cases per day.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to encourage "vaccine tourism," where foreign citizens can visit the country to get a free Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine.

"There is widespread practice where business people and heads of companies come specifically to Russia to get a jab against the coronavirus," Putin told the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, the Moscow Times reported.

He added that he wanted "to be able to organise the conditions for foreign citizens to come to Russia and get vaccinated on a commercial basis."

The Russian Direct Investment Fund, the organisation that's promoting Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, said on Twitter on Friday that vaccine tourism would launch by July.

The country is advocating for the Sputnik V, but the vaccine is still under review by the World Health Organisation and the European Medicines Agency. Unlike the Moderna and Pfizer "MRNA vaccines", the Sputnik V is a "viral vector vaccine" akin to the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines.

Like the AstraZeneca dose, which is also viral vector vaccine, Sputnik V has a “markedly reduced” efficacy in combatting new Covid-19 variants like 501Y.V2, which is dominant in South Africa.

According to the Moscow Times' Covid-19 case tracker, Russia is currently reporting around 9,000 new Covid-19 cases per day.

In April, health minister Zweli Mkhize said SA intended to buy large quantities of the vaccines developed in China and Russia.

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