Israel, Russia working toward mutual COVID vaccine certificate approval

Entry into Israel of people vaccinated with Sputnik was supposed to begin last week but was pushed off.

A medical worker holds a syringe with Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac) vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) before administering an injection at a vaccination centre in a shopping mall in Saint Petersburg, Russia February 24, 2021. (photo credit: REUTERS)
A medical worker holds a syringe with Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac) vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) before administering an injection at a vaccination centre in a shopping mall in Saint Petersburg, Russia February 24, 2021.
(photo credit: REUTERS)

Israel and Russia have agreed to set up a working group on the mutual recognition of vaccination certificates and on best practices for combating COVID-19, according to statements released by the Russian Health Ministry. 

Russian media widely reported on Sunday the results of a meeting between Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov, coronavirus czar Prof. Salman Zarka and their Russian counterparts, which started last Thursday. 

The Israeli delegation was on its way back to Israel on Sunday at press time. 

The Health Ministry confirmed the discussions and said details would be released in Israel soon. 

A release by the Tourism Ministry said that the Israeli delegation would head to Russia to help close the entry for Russian tourists vaccinated with the Sputnik V vaccine. No formal release has been disseminated since the conclusion of the visit. 

 Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Ministerial Liaison to the Knesset Ze'ev Elkin meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, October 22, 2021 (credit: KOBI GIDEON/PMO) Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Ministerial Liaison to the Knesset Ze'ev Elkin meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, October 22, 2021 (credit: KOBI GIDEON/PMO)

Following a meeting between Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Israel agreed to allow individuals who took the Sputnik vaccine to enter Israel, despite the shot not being approved by the World Health Organization. Sputnik travelers will be required to take both a PCR and a serological test on arrival in the country and will need to be isolated until the results of the tests are favorably returned.

Entry of people vaccinated with Sputnik was supposed to begin last week but was pushed off, according to Russian sources, due to “technical reasons.”  It is not expected to start on or around December 1.

"Health Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Murashko met with a government delegation of Israel, which was headed by Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov,” a Russian Health Ministry press release quoted extensively by Russian media said. “The main issue to discuss was facilitating mutual travel between Russia and Israel, which is a complicated task at times of the pandemic.”

The release also noted that Murashko supported setting up a working group to share best practices to counter COVID-19, Russian media said, highlighting that the group was discussed during a call between the country’s health minister and Israeli Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz.