Staunton, May 28 – At the start of the year, 300,000 Muscovites were seeking vaccination every month. By March, that figure had declined to 100,000, a pattern found in many Russian cities and one that is prompting ever more regional officials to try to increase rates, even by employing forceful methods (znak.com/2021-05-28/kak_glavy_regionov_pytayutsya_privit_interes_rossiyan_k_vakcine_ot_koronavirusa).
Among these is vaccinating people in hospital for other things with the coronavirus shots without telling them. Such measures are outraging many Russians, and in some places they have even taken to the streets to protest against them (znak.com/2021-05-28/v_ulyanovske_nachalis_pikety_protiv_prinuditelnoy_vakcinacii_ot_koronavirusa).
At the same time, some are suggesting the officials aren’t doing enough and that Moscow is spending more time trying to promote the sale of Russian vaccines abroad than at getting the shots into Russian arms. The reason, they suggest, is “banal.” It brings in money to Putin and his entourage (gordonua.com/blogs/eydman/vlasti-rf-s-maniakalnym-uporstvom-prodvigayut-sputnik-v-na-mirovye-rynki-na-etom-hochet-podzarabotat-dochka-putina-i-ee-druzhki-1555259.html).
Russian officials reported registering 9252 new cases of infection and 404 new deaths over the last 24 hours, with Moscow and St. Petersburg and the regions surrounding them the most significant hotspots as the pandemic continued to ebb and flow across the country (t.me/COVID2019_official/2987 and regnum.ru/news/society/3277253.html).
On the vaccine front, the health ministry says that it is continuing preparations to test Russian medications on children but that it has already determined that Sputnik-5 and the others are safe for pregnant women (regnum.ru/news/3282638.html and regnum.ru/news/3282632.html).
The health ministry has also refused tog rant approval for phase two and three trials of a new coronavirus vaccine combining elements of Sputnik-5 and AstraZeneca. It says it is waiting for additional information before making a decision (pharmvestnik.ru/content/news/Eticheskii-komitet-Minzdrava-otklonil-issledovanie-kombinacii-vakcin-AstraZeneca-i-Sputnik-V.html and rbc.ru/society/28/05/2021/60b121be9a79475dd7a29f8a).
Meanwhile, in a comment underscoring just how important vaccines can be, Academician Nikolay Briko, an epidemiologist, says that vaccines have increased human life spans by 25 years over the last century (regnum.ru/news/3282183.html).