President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said on Thursday that his government was considering giving each member of the public just one dose of its main coronavirus vaccine, instead of two, in order to get the vaccine quickly to more people.
The vaccine, known as Sputnik V, is reported to be 91.4 percent effective after two doses that are delivered three weeks apart, according to the latest clinical trial data released by Russia this week. But production of the vaccine has been slow, in part because the second dose — which uses a different adenoviral vector than the first — has been particularly difficult to manufacture, according to Russian news reports.
On Thursday, Mr. Putin floated the idea of switching gears and administering a less potent single-dose version of the vaccine that could reach many more people quickly.
“One possibility is to create a ‘light’ version of the vaccine,” Mr. Putin told reporters after his marathon annual news conference on Thursday. “That would mean doing just one shot. It would be shorter-lasting, the level of protection would be smaller — but still up to 85 percent — but we would be able to produce tens of millions right away.”
After Mr. Putin made his comments, other Russian officials said that the one-shot version of the vaccine would most likely be sold to other countries but not used in Russia.
In his news conference, Mr. Putin repeated a common refrain of Russian officials and state media, acknowledging that Russia was hit hard by the coronavirus but insisting that things were even worse elsewhere.
“There is a sea of problems, but this sea, this ocean is everywhere,” Mr. Putin said.
Mr. Putin said widespread vaccination was necessary to stop the virus’s spread, and that the Russian-developed Sputnik V vaccine was now available free at clinics across the country. But Russians are not rushing to be vaccinated. Mr. Putin, who is 68, said on Thursday that he had yet to get the vaccine himself, because health officials had not yet approved its use in people over 60.
“I listen to the recommendations of our specialists,” Mr. Putin said, adding that he would be vaccinated “as soon as it becomes possible.”