Vaccine
© RIA Novosti/Vitaly Belousov (file photo)
Russians exposed to infectious diseases or working in high-risk environments could face penalties for refusing mandatory vaccination, under new regulations. It comes as the country approaches nearly 400,000 Covid-19 cases.

Violations of the existing rules on epidemiological safety, such as refusing "prophylactic vaccination" or failing "to undergo medical checks," will result in fines if the amendments to the Сode of Administrative Offenses - rolled out by the Justice Ministry - are signed into law.

The proposed penalties range from up to $100 for individuals and up to $427 for entities.

Vaccination is a hot topic in Russia, where some people oppose or delay vaccination of their children. The nation's healthcare watchdog said on Saturday that most citizens will actually be exempt from the bill.

Sanctions will only apply to those who risk being infected while handling contagious patients, "working with blood and human biological liquids," or taking care of pets, so people working in these areas will need to be vaccinated, a spokesperson for Rospotrebnadzor said.

The Justice Ministry said that refusing vaccination for "conscientious reasons" will not lead to penalties, but those who are required to be immunized before travelling abroad will be subject to fines.

The news come as Russian researchers hastily work on a Covid-19 vaccine, prototypes of which are already awaiting government approval for human trials. While it's still unclear when one will be ready, scientists say frontline healthcare staff and elderly people should be the first to receive it.

Meanwhile, all hopes are pinned on the lockdown measures enforced across the nation, which has reported close to 397,000 infections and over 4,500 deaths. In Moscow, where the majority of Covid-19 cases have been registered, the quarantine has been extended for two more weeks, beyond the previous May 31 deadline.