Working meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova
The President had a meeting, via videoconference, with Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova.
The Kremlin,06 May 2021
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ms Golikova. Good afternoon.
Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova: Good afternoon, Mr President.
Vladimir Putin: Ms Golikova, we met before the holidays, and back then, based on a proposal made by the chief sanitary doctor, took a decision to extend the May holidays and drop the workdays between May 1 and May 9 to try to remove some of the risk of people travelling in public transport and thus contribute once again to decreasing the threat of spreading the coronavirus.
Overall, as I imagine and see things, including from your reports, the decision proved to be justified, and the morbidity rate in our country continues to fall. The number of new cases is going down whereas the number of recoveries is increasing. Testing is underway, and vaccination is continuing.
However, the information reaching me, unfortunately, shows that there are things that we need to consider and adjust, specifically, the number of tests have gone down in some regions lately as well as vaccination rates.
I would like to hear your opinion on the overall current developments around the coronavirus infection in Russia. This is number one. And second, I know that one more vaccine is ready for registration today – Sputnik Light. I would like you to comment on that and explain to me what it is.
Vladimir Putin: Regrettably, today we see that fighting between pharmaceutical companies on the global markets is on the increase. As far as I can tell, the global markets have decided to support the US Moderna vaccine, which the US-European company Pfizer is fighting. It is fighting and behaving in the market pretty aggressively. But these are their problems.
As far as I know, partly from reports by our specialists, our foreign colleagues in the US said it would be an entirely innovative vaccine, very modern, and I hope this is what it will be, God willing. But that will be clear only ten years from now, after many years of using it and analysing the results.
Currently, all our vaccines are known, and now Sputnik Light will be available shortly. Our vaccines are based on technologies and platforms that have been used for decades. They are also quite modern and are undoubtedly the safest and most reliable today. As one European specialist said, they are as dependable as a Kalashnikov assault rifle. We didn’t say that, a European specialist did. But I think that’s right: as simple and dependable as the Kalashnikov.
But we, among other things, are the only country in the world that is ready to transfer, and does transfer, vaccine production technology to other countries. This process is already underway; it is ongoing. In certain countries vaccine production was organised with technology we shared.
We hear there is an idea in Europe, which I believe deserves consideration, to lift the patent protection from COVID-19 vaccines altogether. As far as I know, this would not contravene but actually comply with certain WTO rules which envision lifting such patent protection in emergencies; and the pandemic is certainly an emergency.
This is why I am asking you, Ms Golikova, to look into this and work it out. Russia would support this approach given that, as I have said many times, under these conditions we should worry less about profits and more about ensuring people’s security. And health security is only possible if the vaccines are used in the overwhelming majority of nations. This will lead to herd immunity, a common immunity in the broadest sense of the word. This concerns everyone, including our country.
So I ask you to focus on what we talked about earlier, this effort in the Russian regions; and will you please also think about that initiative and report back to me later.
Thank you very much.
Tatyana Golikova: Mr President, we will do all of this. Thank you very much.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you. All the best to you.
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