russia covid vaccine center
© SputnikLaw enforcement officers register to receive a dose of Russia's Gam-COVID-VAK (trademark "Sputnik V") coronavirus vaccine at the vaccination point in Gostiny Dvor, in Moscow, Russia.
With Russia's campaign to inoculate its citizens against Covid-19 being hampered by widespread anti-vaccination sentiment, a local official has proposed introducing penalties for those who call for others to refuse taking part.

In a letter seen by RT, the First Deputy Chairman of the Leningrad Region Civic Chamber asked federal Minister of Justice Konstantin Chuychenko to introduce criminal liability for spreading anti-vaxx propaganda, noting that some people promote fake information about the potential dangers of vaccines.

"I ask you to assess the idea of amending the Criminal Code to include responsibility for those calling for others to refuse vaccination on non-medical grounds," Vladimir Petrov wrote, also noting that there should be an extra penalty for medical professionals who disseminate false and harmful information about vaccination.

The Leningrad official also asked the minister to create a law targeting those who purchase false vaccination certificates. According to Petrov, these measures will promote a more responsible attitude toward vaccination.

On Monday, a resident of Russia's Kurgan region was fined 30,000 rubles ($400) after posting deliberately false information about the consequences of vaccinations against Covid-19 on the internet.

Earlier this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law to toughen penalties on those who spread knowingly false information that leads to grave consequences. Depending on the severity, those found guilty could be fined up to two million rubles ($27,000) or face imprisonment for up to five years.

Over the past few months, the Kremlin has been strongly pushing vaccination against Covid-19. Speaking during his annual Direct Line call-in show, Putin told the Russian public that "vaccination is the only way to prevent the further spread of the epidemic," warning that the coronavirus "won't go anywhere."