Russia has a large number of COVID-19 vaccine doses.What is missing is trust

The silver-haired man with a microphone sounded a little frustrated and impatient because he asked a question about how long he thinks the COVID-19 pandemic will end and what it means for life in the Russian capital.

The 62-year-old mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin, said at a meeting of the city’s municipal leaders: “We are sick and we continue to be sick. People continue to die. At the same time, they don’t want to. vaccination.”

If no one takes advantage of it, what are the benefits of being the first country in the world to launch a mass vaccination campaign? He asked rhetorically.

“The proportion of vaccinated people in Moscow is lower than in any European city, and for some people, the proportion is several times higher. [less]. This is amazing,” He said angrily.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin (Sergei Sobyanin) saw it in a photo in 2018 and expressed frustration recently because very few Russians have rolled up their sleeves to receive vaccinations against COVID-19. (Maxim Semetov/Reuters)

The mayor, the former chief of staff of President Vladimir Putin, is now one of the rare voices in Russia, calling on people not to perform their civic duties and get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Unlike many countries where it is difficult to obtain enough vaccine doses for people of all ages, Russia’s problem is not about supply, but about trust.

The non-Russian vaccine has not yet been approved in the country, and many Russians are hesitant to develop Russia’s acclaimed Sputnik V vaccine developed by the State-sponsored Gamalian Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology.

The former president mentioned a controversial choice

As a reward, Sobyanin this week proposed to open a COVID-free area in the restaurant, only open to customers who have been vaccinated.

Soon after Sobyanin’s comments to municipal leaders, former President Dmitry Medvedev (Dmitry Medvedev), deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, publicly considered the prospect of mandatory vaccination to help Russia escape the pandemic.

Yakutia, one of the largest rural areas in eastern Russia, announced this week that vaccinations will be compulsory, although the head of the republic said that people who have good reasons to refuse vaccinations can be exempted from vaccinations.

The World Health Organization discourages mandatory vaccination.

In a democratic society, the focus is to deprive people of the freedom to make their own decisions. The WHO also stated that in the long run, compulsory vaccination may weaken people’s trust in other public health measures.

Even in Russia, where polygamy is a common feature of life, compulsory vaccination is not popular.

Putin hinted that he personally did not approve of this. He said: “Citizens must be aware of this need.”

Looking for participants in Sputnik V

What is the attitude of the Russians towards obtaining Sputnik V?

As of the third week of May, only 11% of the population (15.7 million people) had received at least one dose. Less than eight percent received two doses.

In Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, and many European countries, the vaccination rate among people who have at least one or more than one dose is close to 50%, and the results seem to be reflected in the improved number of COVID-19 cases.

Nikolay Zalateav, 72, told CBC News that he survived a difficult childhood after the Second World War and that he believes he can fight COVID without a vaccination- 19 pandemics. (Colin Seminov/CBC)

Since mid-March, Russia’s official statistics on new COVID-19 cases have generally underestimated the true extent of the spread, generally hovering between 8,000 and 9,000 new cases per day.

The mortality rate has not decreased.

Alexei Kouprianov, a scientist at the Russian Academy of Sciences, said: “I believe that so far, the number of deaths due to COVID has increased by 500,000.” He has been tracking the impact of COVID-19 on Russia’s economy and society.

This number is much higher than the official COVID-19 government task force death toll of 117,000, but it seems to be indirectly supported by the official Russian statistical agency Rosstat.

The report says there are several months of death during the pandemic 25% higher than usual. Many demographers criticized the Russian government for using the narrow definition as the cause of death from COVID-19. On the other hand, Rosstat looks at all deaths in a specific period during the pandemic and compares the results with the same period in a typical year.

Available dose is sufficient

Russia seems to have many vaccines available and has been working hard to ensure that everyone can use it.

There are temporary clinics in large shopping malls and other high-profile areas in major cities, and qualified nurses and doctors will provide you with free photos.

However, the problem seems to be one of trust.

Russia claims to be the safest and most effective vaccine in the world, Sputnik V, and is also the world’s first vaccine available at the national level.

Although this may help Putin’s government to win spontaneous propaganda battles with other vaccine-producing countries, the speed of its development seems to disturb many Russians.

On March 29, workers unloaded a batch of Russian Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine at the airport in Caracas, Venezuela. (Manaure Quintero/Reuters)

CBC News recently spent a day in a rural area outside Moscow, where a mobile vaccination clinic is visiting the village of Pyatnitsa.

The community is full of holiday houses or villas, but there are also many permanent residents.

In more than five hours, CBC News counted that only seven people came to the modified cargo truck to let the nursing team manage the vaccine.

“We are scared because we don’t know how [the vaccine] “, the young mother Oksana Butenko said as he walked across the clinic with his daughter in the stroller.

“Almost no time passes, and we don’t know if it works.”

Like many Russians, she also said that she is not afraid of COVID-19.

“We are here in the fresh air, so [COVID-19] The threat to us is not great. Moreover, we are still very young, so even if we are sick, it will not be so bad. “

A woman was vaccinated against COVID-19 in a mobile clinic outside Moscow. Within five hours of the appearance of CBC News, the mobile clinic team vaccinated only seven people. (Colin Seminov/CBC)

CBC News interviewed several people who said they did not intend to get vaccinated because they believed that the fresh produce in the rural air and gardens would ensure their safety.

Nikolay Zalateav, a 72-year-old pensioner, said: “The COVID will not take me away. This is what I think.”

He said that the life of this generation of Russians is worse than the pandemic.

He said: “My childhood was very difficult.” He grew up in the Soviet Union after the Second World War.

“I hate walking around wearing a mask”

Julia Morozova (Julia Morozova), a 34-year-old new mother on maternity leave, is one of the few people who come here.

“To be honest, I hate walking around wearing a mask. My ear hurts and I want to get rid of it faster.”

A doctor at a travel clinic agreed that it is difficult to convince Russians that using Sputnik V once or twice is safer than not using them.

Dr. Elena Kolmakova said: “I think the reason is still lack of information… and the short trial period of the vaccine.”

People think that the research of this vaccine is not yet sufficient, and they are a little afraid.

Dr. Elena Kolmakova is traveling in a mobile clinic, trying to convince skeptical Russians that it is in their interest to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. (Colin Seminov/CBC)

Although the medical journal Lancet The effectiveness of Sputnik V has been confirmed, and some scientists in the United States and Europe continue to express concerns about the transparency of Russian data.

The Gamaleya Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Russia developed this vaccine, Stepped back It is said that many criticisms are politically motivated.

Some independent commentators in Russia put the blame entirely on the Putin government, who promoted the vaccine and developed it in an atmosphere of secrecy.

They noticed that Putin himself refused to take photos or take photos of the vaccine, nor did he clearly state the vaccine he received.

In an editorial Novaya Gazeta, Kirill Martynov, author of Russia’s main independent publication, said that the lack of trust in the vaccine reflects a decline in trust in other Russian institutions.

He wrote that Russia’s authoritarian regime does not have the ability to successfully fight this epidemic.

“In a closed, censored, and corrupt society, citizens do not expect the state to provide any benefits, and vaccines are no exception.”

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