Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said Russia needs to “step up the vaccination pace” as the country faces a new spike of COVID-19 cases, with an average of over 27,000 new cases recorded. 

"You know that the number of infections is growing in many regions and medical specialists are working in difficult conditions. We all know well that vaccination can save us from the virus and from a severe course of the disease. It is necessary to step up the vaccination pace," Putin said.

That same day, Russia recorded its highest single-day death toll since the start of the pandemic, with 954 new deaths on Tuesday alone, according to Our World in Data. 

"I would like to ask you to be most active in this work, to educate people and speak in the media. People trust and listen to your advice and recommendations. It is very important to do this without a tone of administrative reprimand. We should persistently and patiently work with the people and explain to them the benefits of preventing this dangerous disease," Putin added.

Russia’s vaccine campaign took off at an accelerated pace when its Sputnik COVID vaccine was developed last year. However, many Russians have expressed distrust of the authorities and fear of new medical products, Reuters noted.

Only 34% of Russians have one dose of the vaccine while 31% are fully vaccinated. In comparison, Canada, which follows behind Russia as the second-largest country in the world, is seeing vaccination rates of 78% for individuals with one dose and 73% for those fully vaccinated.