Staunton, April 1 – An Open Media investigation has found that the Russian government has reduced the production of foreign coronavirus vaccines inside Russia in order to showcase its own Sputnik-5 one, even though that means that fewer Russians will have access to any such medication in the near future (openmedia.io/investigation/sputnik-v-ili-nichego-pochemu-rossiyanam-ne-svetit-inostrannaya-ili-drugaya-otechestvennaya-vakcina/).
The Russian government reported registering 9,169 new cases of infection, including more than 1,000 in Moscow alone, something that sparked concern Russia may be turning a corner in the wrong direction, and 383 new deaths over the last 24 hours, as the pandemic continued to ebb and flow across the country (regnum.ru/news/society/3226201.html).
Researchers in Germany and Israel say that Russia’s excess deaths may have been much higher than Moscow has admitted or Russian investigators have suggested. They indicate that their data shows that there were some 414,000 “excess” deaths in Russia in 2020 (echo.msk.ru/news/2814310-echo.html).
The Russian Supreme Court rejected an appeal to end the government’s mask requirement, and one commentator suggested that Russia will never be able to give up wearing masks to protect against illnesses (lenta.ru/news/2021/04/01/vs_otkaz/ regnum.ru/news/3231707.html).
A new poll shows that Russian doctors have confidence in the Sputnik-5 vaccine, but other research shows that Russians are much more suspicious of the medication than people other countries are about the vaccines on offer there (levada.ru/2021/04/01/vaktsinatsiya-ot-covid-19-opros-vrachej/ and trtrussian.com/novosti-rossiya/rossiya-stala-liderom-po-nedoveriyu-naseleniya-k-sobstvennym-vakcinam-5008160).
One result of this is that Russia lags far behind other countries in the percentage of people getting the vaccine and will not meet the goals that Moscow has set for herd immunity (hnewsru.com/blog/01apr2021/covid.html and regnum.ru/news/3231582.html). The makers of the second Russian vaccine have dropped its price on orders from the government and are beginning to send it to the regions (echo.msk.ru/news/2814620-echo.htmland regnum.ru/news/3231329.html).
Moscow has sent more than 100,000 additional doses of Sputnik-5 to St. Petersburg and the region around it, even as doctors in other regions are complaining about shortages which limit their ability to vaccinate the population (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2021/04/01/levada-bolee-30-rossiiskikh-vrachei-rasskazali-o-defitsite-doz-vaktsiny-ot-koronavirusa, regnum.ru/news/3231923.html and regnum.ru/news/3231758.html).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
Russian officials said they would now begin producing 10,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine for animals (regnum.ru/news/3231642.html
· The Russian space agency said that many of its problems over the last year were the result of the pandemic. Others, it added, reflected the impact of Western sanctions (trtrussian.com/ekonomika/roskosmos-priznal-poteri-iz-za-sankcij-i-pandemii-5007496).