Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken an experimental nasal COVID-19 vaccine as Russia struggles to contain its latest coronavirus outbreak, he announced to state media on Wednesday.
Putin received the experimental Sputnik V nasal vaccine, Russia’s domestically produced COVID-19 vaccine.
“I sprayed one [nostril] and the other,” Putin said in a televised meeting.
In a statement to state run news agency TASS, he described being asked to breathe in, then being given the vaccine in powder form through a syringe.
“I sat there for 15 minutes and it was all over. I felt nothing, simply nothing,” he added.
The Russian leader said he hadn’t experienced any unpleasant effect from the vaccine, according to The Associated Press.
“Exactly six months after vaccination my titers of protective [antibodies] have dropped, and specialists recommended the procedure of revaccination, which I did,” he added.
He was vaccinated with the first dose Sputnik V in April this year and revealed that he received a booster shot of Sputnik Light, the one-dose version of the vaccine, on Sunday.
Putin’s experimental vaccine dose comes as Russia struggles with low vaccination rates.
According to Our World in Data, roughly 44 percent of Russia’s population is at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19, with an estimated 37 percent believed to be fully vaccinated.
Putin has previously lambasted the public for vaccine hesitancy.
“I can’t understand what’s going on,” Putin said last month. “We have a reliable and efficient vaccine. The vaccine really reduces the risks of illness, grave complications and death.”
“There are only two ways to get over this period – to get sick or to receive a vaccine,” the Russian leader added. “It’s better to get the vaccine. Why wait for the illness and its grave consequences?”
Data from Russia’s COVID-19 task force shows that the country’s total cumulative infection count has reached 9.4 million. The task force has also reported more than 254,000 total deaths in Russia related to the virus, which is more than have been recorded anywhere else in Europe, according to the AP.