Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Russians Fear Moscow Using Mass Vaccination as Substitute for Third Round of Testing Normally Required

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 16 – Moscow is using mass inoculation as a substitute for the third phase of testing of the vaccine that the authorities have not carried out as required, some Russian bloggers say; and consequently, those who allow themselves to be vaccinated are putting themselves at grave risk of infection or death (https://ura.news/news/1052445415).

            These fears are supported by experts both in Russia and abroad, and therefore, they should not be dismissed simply as another manifestation of the kind of “anti-vaxxer” attitudes regularly on display in the United States and other countries (business-gazeta.ru/article/477943, idelreal.org/a/30785765.html and presseportal.de/pm/30621/4676684).

            Aleksandr Gintsburg, head of the laboratory which developed the Russian vaccine, is seeking to calm such fears. He says that mass vaccination will begin “approximately a month after the beginning of the third stage of testing,” something many may not find entirely reassuring (regnum.ru/news/3037756.html).

            And he adds that yet another indication of how much of a breakthrough the Russian vaccine is can be seen in the fact that other companies presumably in foreign countries are seeking to “lure away” its researchers so that they can press forward with the development of their own medications (regnum.ru/news/3037893.html).

            Because there won’t be enough vaccine available for everyone immediately but only over the course of nine to 12 months, the Russian government has announced that it is taking control of the distribution process to ensure that it is fair and transparent (regnum.ru/news/3037740.html and capost.media/news/obshchestvo/the-necessary-amount-of-vaccine-covid-19-russia-will-get-in-a-year/).

            In launching the coronavirus vaccine effort, Russian officials are being urged to promote vaccinations against other diseases, especially in advance of the regular flu and pneumonia season (ura.news/news/1052445395). And experts are warning that the vaccine alone won’t be the magic bullet many assume (style.rbc.ru/health/5f3509099a79474aecda1e99?from=column_31).

            The Russian government announced that 4969 new cases of infection have been registered in the last 24 hours bringing the cumulative total to 922,853, and 68 new deaths, bringing that toll to 15,685 (t.me/COVID2019_official/1296).

            The pandemic continues to ebb and flow across Russia with re-openings and re-closings tracking that development (regnum.ru/news/society/3033993.html). Despite the official push to reopen schools, parental fears are prompting some places to consider offering distance learning opportunities despite earlier refusing to do so (echo.msk.ru/news/2693413-echo.html).

            And in what may be the worst news of the day, journalists are reporting that in Russian-occupied Crimea, local officials and businessmen are refusing to enforce mask and social distancing requirements on holiday visitors, thus opening the way for the spread of the virus among them and in Russia on their return (svpressa.ru/society/article/273508/).

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