Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Rush to Produce Coronavirus Vaccine Means Many Russians Should Be Cautious about Getting It, Virusologist Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 26 – The rush to produce a vaccine against the coronavirus, Academician Vitaly Zverev says, means that what will be used initially will not have been investigated as fully as a final form should be, should be used only in the cases of those most at risk and that there should not be any talk of mass vaccination (ura.news/news/1052442383).

            Initially, the infectious disease specialist says, the vaccines coming online should be used only for those like doctors, military commanders, and others who come into contact with numerous people and thus are at risk. Then, they should be used in the capitals, and only after that in smaller cities and in the regions. 

            Another medical expert, Aleksandr Chepurnov of the Vektor Laboratories, says that such an approach is the “classical” epidemiological one; but he expressed concern that the powers that be might choose to use the vaccine in a different way, an especially troubling matter because as of now the vaccines have not been fully tested.

            Complicating the challenge of coming up with an effective vaccine, medical experts say, is the fact that there are so many different strains of the virus. More than 211 have been identified in Russia, and nine are unique to it (thinktanks.by/publication/2020/07/26/issledovanie-v-rossii-nashli-9-sobstvennyh-shtammov-koronavirusa.html).

            Further complicating the situation is that ever more individuals and groups oppose getting the vaccine. Their number is now so large that the government is working on a campaign to change their views even though senior officials keep saying that the decision as to whether to be vaccinated will be completely voluntary (ura.news/news/1052442368).

            Meanwhile, the toll of infected and deaths from the coronavirus continued to rise. Today, officials reported that there were 5765 new cases of infection in Russia over the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 812,485, and 77 new deaths, bringing the mortality total so far to 13,269 (t.me/COVID2019_official/1127).

            While numbers of both continue to go up in many cities and regions of the Russian Federation (regnum.ru/news/society/3016015.html), in Moscow, they have fallen to the lowest level since April. Given the Moscow-centric nature of Russian thinking, officials are declaring the pandemic over, forcing experts to point out that “threats” remain (newizv.ru/news/city/26-07-2020/smertnost-ot-koronavirusa-v-moskve-upala-do-aprelskogo-urovnya).

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