Putin urges faster COVID vaccination as cases jump

Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized the need to speed up vaccinations against COVID-19 as deaths from the coronavirus hit new highs in the country.

Putin spoke at a meeting with newly elected lawmakers on Tuesday.

Putin said vaccination safeguards people from infection and serious symptoms. He urged lawmakers to actively support efforts to get more of the population vaccinated.

Russia has been seeing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases since mid-September. The country reported more than 28,000 new cases and 973 deaths from the virus on Tuesday.

The domestically developed Sputnik vaccine is approved in the country, but distrust of the vaccine remains strong among Russians.

The pace of vaccination remains slow in Russia compared to Western countries. Its government says only about a third of the country's population has been inoculated.