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Russia is replenishing COVID-19 vaccines, not destroying them

March 8, 2023 GMT

CLAIM: Russian president Vladimir Putin has “ordered the destruction of all COVID-19 vaccine stockpiles.”

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. There is no evidence that Putin ordered all COVID-19 vaccines to be destroyed, nor is there any official government statement on the matter. The Russian Ministry of Health announced on March 4 that it had replenished supplies of Sputnik V, the country’s domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine following some shortages of the jab, according to a state-owned domestic news agency.

THE FACTS: A false post circulating on social media this week claims that Putin has ordered all COVID-19 vaccines to be destroyed in Russia.

The claim stemmed from a March 4 story published by Real Raw News, a website that notes in its disclaimer that it contains “humor, parody, and satire.” Social media users then shared the baseless claim.

“Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the destruction of all Covid-19 vaccine stockpiles on Russian soil,” said a false post on Twitter.

According to Ria Novosti, the state-owned news agency, Moscow’s clinics had run out of the first component of the two-shot Sputnik V vaccine.

The Russian Ministry of Health announced on Saturday on Telegram that it had shipped supplies of Sputnik V to Moscow and other regions of the country that had reported shortages of the shot.

“Batches of the Sputnik V vaccine have been distributed by the Ministry of Health and have already been sent by the supplier to the city of Moscow and a number of other regions that have reported a decrease in vaccine stockpiles,” the Ministry of Health stated.

The ministry didn’t specify in what other Russian regions vaccine stockpiles needed replenishing.

Real Raw News did not respond to a request for comment.


This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.