Putin offers UN staff free coronavirus vaccines, from Russia with love

Russian president Vladimir Putin offered to provide United Nations staff with the Sputnik-V vaccine in a speech Tuesday to this year's General Assembly, which marks the U.N.'s 75th birthday.

Putin offers UN staff free coronavirus vaccines, from Russia with love

"Any one of us could face this dangerous virus. The virus has not spared the staff of the United Nations, its headquarters and regional entities," Putin said in a prerecorded speech from Moscow. The coronavirus pandemic means this year's General Assembly is a work-from-home production, for the first time in its history.

"Russia is ready to offer U.N. workers the necessary, qualified help, and in particular we propose to supply our vaccine for free to employees of the organization and its subsidiaries who volunteer for vaccination," said Putin, who announced the vaccine to broad fanfare last month and said his own daughter is among those who have taken it.

He described Tuesday's offer as a response to popular demand: "Some colleagues from the U.N. have asked about this, and we will not remain indifferent to them."

U.N. staff didn't immediately speak out on whether they'd take him up on the offer. At the U.N.'s medical agency in Geneva, the World Health Organization, spokeswoman Dr. Margaret Harris declined to comment.