Kremlin Must Start Now and Work Hard to Overcome Russian Resistance to Getting Immunized, Experts Say

File Photo of Blue-Gloved Hand Holding Syringe and Injecting Arm, adapted from image at nih.gov

(Paul Goble – Window On Eurasia – Staunton, Nov. 15, 2020)

With the prospect that one or more vaccines against the coronavirus will be available in the near future, the Russian government must launch a massive effort to overcome the skepticism of Russians and get the vast majority of them to get the shots when they become available, experts say.

If the powers that be do not make that effort a priority, the pandemic will continue to flare because many Russians do not trust either the doctors or the state about medical issues. And the experts warn that “banal ad campaigns are hardly going to be effective (vedomosti.ru/opinion/articles/2020/11/15/846993-sotsialnii-skepsis).

The daily numbers reported by the government continued to be depressing. According to officials, 22,572 new cases of infection were registered bringing the total to 1,925,825, and 352 new deaths, raising that toll to 33,186 (t.me/COVID2019_official/1984). As has always been true, in some places, the trends are especially bad (regnum.ru/news/society/3111606.html).

In the Far East, things are especially bad. Those infected with the virus continue to go to work, there are no medicines, and medical facilities are inadequate to the task, officials, doctors and ordinary Russians there say (svpressa.ru/society/article/281503/).

Ever more schools are shifting to online instruction, a highly unpopular move that has provoked protests and demonstrations in various parts of the Russian Federation (severreal.org/a/30942352.html).

Developers of the Chumakov Scientific Center vaccine are claiming that their medication has significant advantages over Sputnik-5 and Western vaccines (regnum.ru/news/3115634.html). The Russian government has extended the simplified approval process for new medications to January 2022 (regnum.ru/news/3115701.html).

Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov says that because of the pandemic, demands for all medications have risen 1500 percent, something no one expected and that the country’s producers are now struggling to meet (echo.msk.ru/news/2742472-echo.html).

On the economic front, experts say that the second wave has been so severe that all predictions for the Russian economy in the coming years must be cut (ng.ru/economics/2020-11-15/4_8014_wave.html).

One interesting development is that the pandemic has dramatically increased interest in polls but at the same time lessened their accuracy because ever more of the surveys are done online and Russians tell pollsters that they are less likely to answer those than when they are approached wave to face (levada.ru/2020/11/13/uchastie-v-oprosah-i-doverie/ and wciom.ru/analytical-reviews/analiticheskii-obzor/opros-ob-oprosakh-monitoring).

[article also appeared at windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2020/11/kremlin-must-start-now-and-work-hard-to.html]