Staunton, May 12 – Sixty-two percent of Russians say they do not intend to get the Sputnik-5 vaccine, a figure that if it holds means that their country will reach herd immunity only if a significant fraction of the population comes down with the coronavirus infection and then recovers (levada.ru/2021/05/12/koronavirus-i-vaktsina/).
Russian officials are trying to change minds by offering various subsidies and prizes for those who do get the vaccine, but these have become so outlandish in some places that a few observers are criticizing them as excessive even if the intentions behind these gifts are good (regnum.ru/news/3267099.html and regnum.ru/news/3267160.html).
Russian officials reported today that they had registered 8217 new cases of infection and 355 new deaths from the coronavirus over the last 24 hours, as the pandemic eased in most places but jumped up in a few (t.me/COVID2019_official/2929, regnum.ru/news/3266960.html and regnum.ru/news/society/3258922.html).
The city of St. Petersburg continues to be hard hit and officials are urging residents to get vaccinated. They are also subsidizing medical personnel to ensure that those who do need hospitalization are treated well (regnum.ru/news/3266709.html, regnum.ru/news/3266774.html and https://regnum.ru/news/3266853.html).
Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said that 40 percent of the deputies had been infected but recovered, and the Kremlin said that there are no contradictions in official data about the coronavirus pandemic (regnum.ru/news/3266934.html and regnum.ru/news/3267108.html).
Angola has approved for use Sputnik-Lite, but Moscow has held up sending the vaccine to Northern Macedonia to punish that Balkan country for its support of Navalny (regnum.ru/news/3267446.html and znak.com/2021-05-12/bloomberg_rf_zatyagivaet_postavki_vakciny_v_severnuyu_makedoniyu_iz_za_pozicii_po_navalnomu).
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin says that it is too early to say that Russia has recovered but noted that the government is establishing “a sanitary shield” around it, although he then suggested that Russians today may not be willing to work as hard as he did (nakanune.ru/news/2021/5/12/22601460/aif.ru/politics/russia/mishustin_zayavil_o_sozdanii_v_rossii_sanitarnogo_shchita and https://www.mk.ru/economics/2021/05/12/mishustin-zapodozril-bedneyushhikh-rossiyan-v-leni-sam-rabotal-gruzchikom.html
· Two thirds of Russians say they have no plans to go on vacation this year. Travel abroad is generally out, and domestic resorts have raised prices to take advantage of the situation (rbc.ru/society/12/05/2021/609bbe849a794713094e6102?from=from_main_10 and newizv.ru/news/society/12-05-2021/den-v-sochi-kak-nedelya-v-egipte-nash-turbiznes-otryvaetsya-na-kovidnyh-zapretah).