Staunton, August 18 – Because Moscow is using the launch of mass anti-coronavirus vaccinations as a substitute for the third wave of clinical trials it did not complete, many Russians are worried that they are being used as guinea pigs for something that may not be safe and effective.
To reassure them but also as an indication that scientists may share their concerns, an official at the center which developed the vaccine said today that the registration of the medication could be pulled “at any time” if problems are encountered with the vaccine (https://regnum.ru/news/3039463.html).
Russian pharmaceutical officials also are seeking to reassure Russians about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, pointing out that the vaccine had been subject to some 20 tests before being released for general use (pharmvestnik.ru/content/news/Ocenka-immunogennosti-i-bezopasnosti-vakciny-Gam-KOVID-Vak-provedena-na-20-dobrovolcah.html).
Officials are also saying that Russia doesn’t need the assistance of Western pharmaceutical giants and that the Russian vaccine will cost only 10 percent of what the Chinese model is currently projected to cost (ng.ru/economics/2020-08-18/4_7940_18082020.html and
As it does each day, the Russian government has released a report on the number of new cases and deaths from the pandemic. Some 4748 new cases of infection were recorded, bringing the total to 932,493 and 132 new deaths, upping that toll to 15,872 (t.me/COVID2019_official/1307).
Another set of data showing levels of immunity indicates that more than 20 percent of residents in seven regions, including Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Tatarstan have developed immunity to the disease (regnum.ru/news/3039003.html and regnum.ru/news/3039231.html).
The pandemic continues to ebb and flow across the country with re-openings and re-closings following (regnum.ru/news/society/3033993.html). The economies of some parts of the country have been hit far harder than others, but Moscow has compensated for that only in a few, such as Chechnya (severreal.org/a/30786625.html and svobodaradio.livejournal.com/4529581.html).
Middle class Russians are now patronizing discounters rather than normal stores (realtribune.ru/news/economics/4896). Fifty percent of Russians now have taken loans and the number seeking new credit cards has jumped by a third in the last month (vedomosti.ru/finance/articles/2020/08/18/837039-rossiyane-kreditkam and tass.ru/ekonomika/9232923).
In other economic news, Russian earnings from exporting oil and gas had fallen to the lowest levels since 1991 (rosstat.gov.ru/bgd/free/B04_03/IssWWW.exe/Stg/d05/150.htm), and Russian managers say the pandemic has increased the cost and length of time needed to find new employees (regnum.ru/news/3039419.html).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments from Russia today,
· Online crime of various kinds has increased during the pandemic (regnum.ru/news/3039314.html).
· A Russian company has come up with what it says is a new and more effective kind of face mask (incrussia.ru/news/blanc-mark/).
A greater share of Russians are now interested in environmental issues than were before the pandemic (vedomosti.ru/society/articles/2020/08/18/837043-rossiyane-interesovatsya