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Moscow orders mandatory COVID vaccinations for many workers

June 16, 2021

Amid a "dramatic" rise in coronavirus cases, Moscow now requires employees in industries that provide services to a large number of people to be fully vaccinated by August 15.

A man receives a dose of Sputnik V vaccine in Russia.
Moscow started rolling out COVID-19 vaccine in December Image: Evgeny Kozyrev/REUTERS

Vaccination against COVID-19 will become compulsory for service industry workers tending to large numbers of people in Moscow, authorities said Wednesday. 

The decision comes amid a spike in COVID-19 cases and a slow vaccine rollout. 

"We simply must do everything to carry out mass vaccinations in the shortest possible time and stop this terrible disease, stop the deaths of thousands of people,'' Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said in a statement.

Who will be affected by the decision? 

"In connection with the extremely difficult epidemiological situation, the Chief State Sanitary Doctor for the city of Moscow today adopted a decree on the compulsory vaccination of workers in the service sector," he said.

Retail, education, health care, public transport and other trades that provide services to a large number of people are now required to ensure that 60% of staff get at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine by July 15 and are fully vaccinated by August 15.

However, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there were no plans to order mandatory vaccinations nationwide.

'Dramatic' COVID situation

In recent weeks, Moscow recorded a steady rise in the numbers of new coronavirus infections. 

"The coronavirus situation continues to unfold dramatically," Sobyanin said, as authorities announced 5,782 new infections in the capital and 75 deaths.

The increase in cases comes as Russian authorities struggle to encourage people to get vaccinated.      

Last week, Sobyanin last announced that Moscow residents who get their first COVID-19 jab would be automatically entered into a lottery to win a car. 

Although Russia was among the first countries in the world to roll out the COVID-19 jab, its vaccination rates are lower than many other nations.

Russia offers all-inclusive vaccine tours

Roughly 12% of Russia's population had received at least one shot as of early June. In Moscow, around 14% of its roughly 12 million inhabitants have received a shot.

Russia has reported over 5.2 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 127,000 deaths related to the virus since the beginning of the pandemic.  

fb/msh (AFP, AP, Reuters)