RUSSIANS are snubbing the country’s own Sputnik V vaccine out of distrust for Vladimir Putin’s government and belief Covid is a hoax.
Distrust of Vladimir Putin’s government is keeping vaccine uptake low[/caption]
The Sputnik V vaccine has been export around the world[/caption]
Russia’s tiny vaccine uptake compares to 32.1 per cent in the UK and 17.1 per cent in the US, according to Our World in Data.
Recent polls show that less than a third of Russians are willing to get the Sputnik V vaccine amid mistrust of Vladimir Putin’s government.
Lingering distrust of the authorities from the Soviet Communist era means that as many as three quarters of Russians believe Covid is a man-made biological weapon, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Vadim Ivanov, a 55-year-old driver for St. Petersburg’s city maintenance department: “I’m not getting a vaccine because I don’t believe in the coronavirus.
“It’s all about deception. People say it’s all nonsense, it’s all far-fetched, it’s all invented.”
Margarita Zavadskaya, research fellow in political science at European University in St. Petersburg, said distrust of Putin’s government was widespread.
One of the few Russians to take the Sputnik V vaccine getting the jab[/caption]
“There’s a pattern of extremely low trust in all kinds of official authorities, other political institutions and the healthcare system,” she said.
In a bid to up the rollout, Russian authorities scrapped priority vaccination groups and offered jabs to everyone in January.
Vaccination centres have been set up in food courts, opera houses and shopping malls, with some outlets even offering free ice cream for each shot.
Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, recently said there’s “no shortage of vaccines” but added “one cannot say that there is a rush” to get a jab.
A Sputnik V consignment arriving in Slovakia[/caption]
Putin himself has not had the jab but the Kremlin says he plans to get a vaccine during the late summer or early autumn after consulting with doctors.
“We were on par with everybody else in developing the vaccine, but we’re now behind in administering it,” said Anton Gopka from St. Petersburg’s ITMO University.
“In the end, the big risk is that it will prolong the pandemic here.
“The government needs to do a better job at communicating the benefits of the vaccine.”
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Angela Merkel has said Germany could turn to Russia’s Sputnik V Covid jab amid the EU’s shambolic vaccine rollout, with just 2.34 per cent of the bloc’s population have been inoculated.
Merkel admitted that Germany could seek a deal with Russia for its Sputnik V vaccine – despite her previous skepticism over the jab’s safety.
“I talked with the Russian President exactly about this. We noted the good data about the Russian vaccine,” she said.