By Andrew E. Kramer
MOSCOW — President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was inoculated against the coronavirus on Tuesday, the Kremlin said, ending months of holding out against being vaccinated even while promoting his country’s domestically made shots.
The president’s injection was not shown on television, an exception to the usual wall-to-wall coverage of Mr. Putin’s daily activities on state television.
His spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, said that Mr. Putin had promoted vaccination in other ways and did not need to be shown in public receiving a shot.
“The president, as you see, has dedicated a significant part of his work time to events, discussions and meetings about vaccines, about production of vaccines and so on,” Mr. Peskov said. “The president is already doing a lot for vaccine propaganda.”
Mr. Peskov addressed the issue of shortage only in export markets for the most widely used Russian vaccine, called Sputnik V, saying that demand abroad exceeded supply and that the vaccine therefore did not need promotion.
In addition to Sputnik V, Russia has approved for emergency use two other domestically developed vaccines — EpiVacCorona and CoviVac — that have yet to complete their clinical trials. All three Russian vaccines require two doses.
Mr. Peskov declined to specify which of the three Russian-made vaccines Mr. Putin received.
Under Russian rules, Mr. Putin became eligible for a Sputnik V shot in late December based on his age; he is 68. But months passed with no word from the Kremlin on his inoculation.
The Kremlin and outside analysts of Russian vaccine politics have offered a variety of explanations about the presidential foot-dragging.
At the least, Mr. Putin is not shy about appearing in public shirtless, relishing opportunities to show his general good health with bare-chested pictures from Siberian fishing or horseback-riding vacations.
He is also not known to be generally squeamish about vaccines. He told Russian newspaper editors last month that he receives annual flu shots, and said then that he might be inoculated against the coronavirus along with a flu shot in the autumn.
In response to a question on whether he should promote vaccination by example, he said he didn’t want to “make a monkey” of himself by appearing in public receiving a coronavirus vaccine, according to a report of the meeting.
Russia’s inoculation campaign has lagged far behind the United States and most European nations — the country has vaccinated 3.9 percent of the population with at least one dose, compared with 25 percent in the United States. Some attribute that difference to widespread vaccine hesitancy, something a presidential shot could help overcome.
Russian news media reports, though, have pointed to signs of another cause: shortages and production bottlenecks that officials have only recently acknowledged.
During a video conference with vaccine makers on Monday, Mr. Putin said Russia had produced 8.9 million two-dose sets of the Sputnik V vaccine since regulators approved it in August. But he said production would ramp significantly to 17 million sets monthly starting in April. Last fall, officials had predicted a far swifter rollout.
Promoting vaccination with a presidential shot before doses were widely available in Russia might have served only to highlight the vaccine shortage at home even as Russia has been exporting vaccines globally, a sensitive political issue.
Mr. Putin cited his own vaccination plans on Monday while also announcing plans to produce enough doses for most adults by August.
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