Russia is proud of Sputnik V, but vaccination rates are hopelessly lagging behind other countries

Recently walking around a supermarket in northern Moscow, Vladimir Makarov saw that there, shoppers are simply offered to be vaccinated against coronavirus on the spot. And asked how long the procedure would take.

“It turned out that everything was very simple – ten minutes,” the man said. True, Makarov, like many other Muscovites, still decided not to get the Sputnik V vaccine.

Russia boasted last year that it was the first in the world to approve a vaccine against coronavirus, but the country is failing to vaccinate the population smoothly and quickly. It is doubtful whether the government will achieve its ambitious goal of vaccinating 30 million by mid-June. people, and by August – 69 million.

Photo by Scanpix / ITAR-TASS / Slow coronavirus vaccination in Russia

Vaccines are not rushed, although at least in Moscow they are available to anyone over the age of 18. Doses are full of public and private clinics, supermarkets, hospitals, even the theater.

The pace is not high enough

By mid-April, just over a million of the 12.7 million people living in Moscow have been vaccinated with at least one dose of the vaccine. Only 8%, although the vaccination campaign began back in December.

Similar indicators – elsewhere in Russia. By April 27, only 12 million. people had received at least one vaccine and only 7.7 million. (5%) were fully immunized. Nationwide – 146 million. population.

It is not difficult to compare the situation in Russia and the United States. For the Atlantic, 43 percent received at least one dose of the vaccine. people, and in the European Union – 27-28%.

Data analyst Alexander Dragan announced last week that Russia vaccinates an average of 200-205 thousand a day. people. To reach this mid-June target, the pace needs to be doubled.

The Moscow authorities have already begun to offer 1 thousand. rubles (11 euros) worth of coupons for people over 60 who have already been vaccinated.

“We need to start vaccinating 370 thousand. people a day. Basically tomorrow – as soon as possible “, – said A.Dragan.

To increase people’s interest in the vaccine against coronavirus, the Moscow authorities have already begun to offer 1 thousand. rubles (11 euros) worth of coupons for people over 60 who have already been vaccinated. Such money really makes retirees who get 20 thousand a month. rubles (223 euros).

But enthusiasm is still lacking. Moscow seniors interviewed by the news agency AP, moreover, said that the coupons are received only after registering online. It is not easy to find stores that accept these coupons.

Reuters / Scanpix photo / Slow coronavirus vaccination in Russia

Reuters / Scanpix photo / Slow coronavirus vaccination in Russia

Other regions also offer a kind of gingerbread. In Chukotka, officials promise seniors 2 thousand. rubles (22 euros) for vaccination. In neighboring Magadan, the reward is twice as low, and the theater in St. Petersburg offers discounts on tickets if a vaccination certificate is presented.

Inconsistent signals to the public

According to experts, vaccination is stalling in Russia for several reasons, perhaps most importantly – production capacity. Vaccine manufacturers in the country are unable to produce enough doses – they were in short supply in many regions in March.

So far, only 28 million tons have been produced in Russia. all two-dose vaccine complexes available in the country. And only 17.4 million. of which, after inspection, were removed from storage for use.

That is why, when it comes to the vaccination campaign in Russia, it is important to take into account not only the indifference of citizens, but also the fact that in some countries, even people who want to be vaccinated have to wait in line.

For example, in the Sverdlovsk region, which is the fifth most populous in Russia, in the middle of April, as many as 178 thousand people were waiting in line for vaccinations. people.

On the other hand, it is clear that the Russians have doubts about the vaccine – at least Sputnik V – and that it has been approved in the country before large-scale clinical trials have been carried out to assess its safety and effectiveness.

“Reuters” / “Scanpix” nuotr./Vaccina “Sputnik V”

And although the Russian scientific journal The Lancet reported in February that the Russian vaccine was safe, the doubts were not dispelled – a survey by an independent Levada center soon showed that only 30 percent the Russians want to get vaccinated “Sputnik V”.

According to Dragan, the Russian people probably do not like the fact that the government keeps repeating that it has managed the pandemic, although such an assessment is probably too early.

After all, it is no wonder that civil servants praise the Kremlin’s actions in controlling COVID-19. But the Russians, hearing such praise and seeing that all public life is boiling without any restrictions, according to A. Dragan, consider whether it is really worth vaccinating: “If the outbreak is over, who needs it?”

The Russian people also probably do not like the fact that the government keeps repeating that it has controlled the pandemic, although such an assessment is probably too early.

“Signals from officials and the media are inconsistent. In 2020, the Russians were bombarded with different messages. First, that the coronavirus is just a non-dangerous cold, and then that it is a deadly infection.

In the end, the Russians were forbidden to leave the house, “added Vasily Vlasov, a public health expert at the Moscow School of Economics.

Infections began to increase

V. Vlasov also noted that a narrative is being developed in the Russian media that vaccines produced abroad are dangerous and Russian vaccines are not. State television diligently announced research into the safety of AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, while trumpeting the success of Sputnik V abroad.

Of course, this success is conditional – Sputnik V has actually been bought by a number of countries, but the European Medicines Agency has not yet given the green light to the product.

Either way, an extensive vaccine awareness campaign in Russia only started in late March. But here, too, celebrities and other public figures just talked about what they felt vaccinated – there was not a single image of how the dose was given to them. President Vladimir Putin has not been publicly vaccinated either.

Scanpix / AP photo / Vladimir Putin

Scanpix / AP photo / Vladimir Putin

“Yes, this is very fertile ground for conspiracy theories and their supporters,” Dragan said.

Rumors about the alleged dangers of vaccines on social networks began to spread back in December last year, when Russia began vaccinating against COVID-19. According to social anthropology specialist Alexander Archipova, there is no shortage of theories to date.

Various theories, pseudo-scientific programs popular on Russian television, problems with the production and distribution of vaccines – all this makes vaccination stall in the country.

More and more foreigners are going to Russia who cannot get the vaccine at home. For example, back in March in Moscow, just in a hotel, a group of Germans were vaccinated.

V. Vlasov, in turn, noticed that the epidemic in Russia is far from over – on the contrary, there are signs that the number of infections is increasing.

“Now in Russia, on average, as many people a day as in May last year, during the pandemic peak. In addition, twice as many people die every day as a year ago, “V. Vlasov explained.

Government statistics say the number of infections remains stable at 8-9 thousand. during the day. Deaths – 300-400 per day. However, the number of cases is growing in Moscow, and the epidemic has gained momentum in seven more regions.

Meanwhile, more and more foreigners are going to Russia who can’t get the vaccine at home. For example, back in March in Moscow, just in a hotel, a group of Germans were vaccinated.

Source: – suprasti akimirksniu | RSS by

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