Staunton, August 24 – Fifty-two percent of ordinary Russians say they believe that Vladimir Putin’s much-ballyhooed Sputnik-5 coronavirus vaccine is neither safe or effective and that, as a result, they will not get the shots unless or until there is evidence to the contrary, according to a new VTsIOM poll (rusk.ru/newsdata.php?idar=88028).
Some of this reflects the skepticism of Russians about anything Putin says, and some of it reflects anti-vaxxer attitudes promoted by some Russian Orthodox priests and others. But such opposition to getting the vaccine will mean that there is little chance that Russia will achieve the herd immunity even next year the government has been talking about.
Opposition to vaccinations in general and this one in particular is a major problem in Russia (and some other countries). It needs to be kept in mind when Russian officials announce ambitious inoculation goals of 60 percent or more for flu or other diseases (regnum.ru/news/3043901.html).
Russian officials registered 4744 new cases of infection, bringing that total to 961,493, and 65 additional deaths, upping that toll to 16,488 (t.me/COVID2019_official/1340). The pandemic continued to ebb and flow across the country with re-openings and re-closings the order of the day (regnum.ru/news/society/3040080.html
Moscow school officials say they have adopted measures to allow pupils to move between classes without infecting one another (regnum.ru/news/3044217.html), although they conceded that since the start of the pandemic, eight percent of attendees there had become sick enough to be hospitalized (regnum.ru/news/3044293.html).
And in a danger sign for the future, Moscow officials announced that the number of people violating the rules requiring wearing masks had jumped by 25 percent after the isolation regime was lifted (t.me/rian_ru/51677).
Unemployment rose by a tenth of a percent between June and July, officials reported (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/79358). Despite the crisis, banks earned more this year than for the same period last, although they have exhausted their hard currency reserves and a third of Russians say they want to pull their money out of the banks (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/79354, rbc.ru/finances/24/08/2020/5f43e9ca9a7947f09e5dc9a7?from=column_2 and krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/79375).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related news from Russia today,
· The pandemic is likely to leave Russia with a shortage of new movies for the next year or more, culture ministry officials say (regnum.ru/news/3044504.html).
· A school in Arkhangelsk Oblast has had to borrow money to purchase the necessary supplies to protect its pupils from the coronavirus (regnum.ru/news/3044466.html).
· The Russian government has lifted the ban on tourist excursions to museums (t.me/tass_agency/16107).