Moscow – They tried grocery giveaways and lottery tickets for new cars and new apartments. However, the ambitious plan to vaccinate 30 million Russians by mid-June has yet to reach a third.
As a result, many local governments in large countries now require certain workers to be vaccinated and require injections to enter certain businesses, such as restaurants.
Russia also approved the vaccine for the first time in the world and began its administration in December, as many Western countries lifted restrictions on the coronavirus and plan to return to normal life after mass vaccination. Nonetheless, we are fighting an upsurge in infections.
Daily new cases drop from around 9,000 in early June to around 17,000 on June 18 and more than 20,000 on Thursday, with Moscow and its surrounding areas and St. Petersburg accounting for about half of all new infections.
Authorities blamed the Russians for their lazy attitude towards taking the necessary precautions and spreading more infectious variants. But perhaps the most important factor is the lack of vaccination.
As of Wednesday, only 20.7 million people were vaccinated, or 14% of the population of 146 million, and 16.7 million people were fully vaccinated, or about 11%. Not too much.
Experts say these numbers are due to several factors, including public vigilance over the hasty approval and deployment of the Sputnik V vaccine. Russia’s official history has tamed the epidemic. Criticism that other vaccines are dangerous on state television. Weak promotional campaigns that include incentives such as giveaways to consumers.
In light of the increase, at least 14 Russian regions, from Moscow and St. Petersburg to the remote Far East region of Sakhalin, have mandated employees from certain industries such as government, retail, health and education this month to vaccinate. , Restaurants, fitness centers, beauty salons and other service industries.
Moscow officials said companies should suspend unpaid employees who do not want to be vaccinated, reaching the target of 60% of staff receiving at least one injection by July 15 and both injections by July 15. August. Threatened to temporarily suspend the activities of companies that do not wish to do so. 15.15.
As of Monday, all restaurants, cafes and bars in Moscow will only accept customers who have been vaccinated, recovered from COVID-19 in the past 6 months, or tested negative in the last 72 hours of the week. coronavirus. .. City officials have also limited the most selective hospital care to those who are fully vaccinated or who can provide tests to show they have antibodies to fight infection.
This move appears to be a desperate act on the part of the authorities.
Judy Twigg, professor of political science at Virginia Commonwealth University specializing in global health, said:
âPeople didn’t trust him because they were promoting this vaccine. Then they took a series of seemingly attempted steps to make the government appear to be in control. The pandemic wasn’t a big dealâ¦ and now they’re in this situation, and of course the low vaccination rates are leaving room for delta mutants to come in, âshe said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday the vaccinations in Moscow were “voluntary”.
The governor of the southern Krasnodar region, where the Black Sea resort of Sochi is located, said the hotel and sanatorium would only accommodate vacationers with a coronavirus test or negative vaccination certificate from July 1. recognized.
The mandates have responded in various ways, with some saying they would be welcome if they could prevent the business from shutting down, while others say it’s not clear how employers can convince those who don’t. don’t want shots. ..
“Most restaurateurs believe that vaccination is necessary,” said Sergey Mironov, founder of the restaurant chain and vice-president of the Federation of Restaurateurs. “But we have to create (correct) conditions for the (drive) vaccination.”
âThere are so many rumors that even doctors are saying different things,â he said, especially when it is difficult to convince young employees to get the vaccine.
Government human rights commissioner Tatiana Moskarkova said unvaccinated people cited discrimination from employers with threats of dismissal or withholding of bonuses.
At the televised awards ceremony on Tuesday, popular actor Egor Beloev wore a yellow star similar to the one worn by Jews under the Nazis during WWII, with “(COVID-19 vaccination) as an identification mark . I woke up to the world I have become in. “Whether you are a citizen … can you visit institutions and events, do you have all the benefits and rights?”
As proof of vaccination to enter a restaurant, customers must visit a government website and obtain a QR code, which is a digital template designed to be read by a scanner.
The restaurant owner won a concession Thursday when Moscow agreed that a QR code would not be required for facilities with outdoor terraces for the next two weeks. Underage clients do not need to present any documents if accompanied by their parents.
Still, the situation in many restaurants is “difficult and will be every day,” Mironov said.
In Moscow, online searches for fake vaccination documents increased shortly after the mayor announced compulsory vaccination, social anthropologist Alexandra Alkipois told an online conference on vaccine repellents.
Police quickly cracked down and initiated 24 criminal proceedings against the seller of fake vaccination certificates last week. Still, some accounts featuring fake documentations can be easily found in this week’s Telegram messaging app.
Evgeny Egorov, a digital risk protection analyst at Singapore-based cybersecurity firm Group-IB, said the number of such offers has grown by around 19% every month since March. .. In mid-June, he said Group-IB found at least 90 active offers.
The Levada Center, an independent pollster, shows that about 60% of Russians are reluctant to get vaccinated, according to polls.
Levada director and sociologist Dennis Volkov said vaccination obligations could change the minds of many, as they are a clear signal from the government that dismissal is necessary.
“I often hear (from respondents) not doing it, being afraid, but if there are restrictions and it is necessary for travel, public services or work,” Volkov said.
This may be starting to change mentalities. Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said average vaccination rates in Russia had nearly doubled over the past week, with long queues at a pop-up vaccination clinic in a Moscow shopping mall.
Demand for vaccines can also lead to shortages. As of mid-May, Russia has produced more than 33 million times and exported a significant amount.
Supply issues were reported in several regions this week, but Peskov said they were “temporary logistics issues”.
Follow the details of The Associated Press’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine
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Russia demands that some people be vaccinated as virus cases skyrocket
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