(June 22, 2021) Because of the worsening COVID-19 epidemiological situation in Russia, constituent components of the Russian Federation have begun ordering mandatory mass vaccination. While Russian President Vladimir Putin recently stated that mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for the entire population cannot be initiated nationally, regional branches of the Federal Service for Consumer Protection Supervision have established business fields and quotas for employee vaccinations. Depending on the region, between 60% and 80% of civil servants and staff in specific businesses determined by provincial authorities must be vaccinated during the established mandatory vaccination period.
In the capital city of Moscow, for example, at least 60% of employees working in retail; the food industry; transportation; health care; sports; financial, communal, and social services; education; and cultural pursuits must be vaccinated by July 15, 2021. Electronic information on staff vaccinations must be uploaded by employers to the mayor’s office website. Businesses that do not meet the established requirements will be fined or even closed for up to three months.
Reportedly, on June 21, 2021, 12 out of 85 Russian regions established mandatory vaccination requirements and introduced restrictions for unvaccinated individuals. For example, such individuals cannot be admitted to hotels and resorts.
Commenting on June 19, 2021, on the issue of mass vaccination, the minister of labor of the Russian Federation stated that while the Labor Code does not allow termination of employment for those who refuse to get the vaccine, unvaccinated employees can be suspended from work without pay if mandatory vaccination has been declared in the region by the region’s chief doctor of sanitation, who is the head of the regional Consumer Protection Supervision Bureau. Employees can be suspended for the duration of the pandemic unless they demonstrate substantial reasons for remaining unvaccinated.