Russia considers COVID-19 vaccination certificates for cross-border travels

FILE PHOTO: A paramedic wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) walks towards an ambulance as she leaves the house of a patient, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the town of Soltsy, Novgorod Region, Russia December 10, 2020. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the government to consider issuing certificates to those who had been inoculated with domestic vaccines against COVID-19 for overseas travels, a document published by the Kremlin showed on Monday.

The document also said the government has been tasked with making the certificates internationally recognizable.

Russia, which has the world’s fourth highest number of COVID-19 cases, is putting high hopes on several domestically produced vaccines. It started wide-scale vaccination against the disease last month.

More than 800,000 people in Russia have been inoculated so far and more than 1.5 million vaccine doses have been dispatched, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Saturday.

From Jan. 1, people who are inoculated in Russia will get an electronic vaccination certificate, the TASS news agency quoted Murashko as saying. The ministry is keeping a database of Russians who have been vaccinated, TASS reported.

The World Health Organization does not recommend countries issuing “immunity passports” for those who have recovered from COVID-19, but is looking at prospects of deploying e-vaccination certificates and is working on a pilot project for such a scheme with Estonia.

Earlier on Monday, Russia reported 23,351 new coronavirus cases over the previous 24 hours, including 3,591 in Moscow, taking the national tally to 3,260,138.

Authorities said 482 people had died, taking Russia’s official death toll to 58,988.

Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; Writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Alex Richardson