Staunton, June 4 – Even though Russia was the first to develop a vaccine, it now ranks 82nd among the countries of the world in terms of the percentage of the population which has been vaccinated. Only ab out 11 percent of Russians have received the shots, and 62 percent say they do not intend to get them (gogov.ru/articles/covid-v-stats).
Officials are still promoting the shots and even suggesting that the share of the population which must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity is not 60-70 percent as they have said in the past but 80-90 percent, a number that Moscow will find difficult to reach as long as opposition remains so strong and vaccination voluntary (regnum.ru/news/3288477.html and rtvi.com/news/minzdrav-plan-massovoy-vaktsinatsii-v-rossii-vypolnen-bolee-chem-na-25/).
Consumer affairs chief Anna Popova says that a major battlefront now has emerged between government experts who unanimously recommend the vaccine and ill-informed anti-vaxxers and skeptics who oppose the shots. The latter must be actively opposed and isolated, she says (regnum.ru/news/3288508.html).
One of the greatest challenges is the diversity in the situation in various parts of the country. Some regions are close to defeating the pandemic, Moscow says; while officials in other regions say they face a third wave (regnum.ru/news/society/3287593.html, znak.com/2021-06-05/murashko_zayavil_chto_neskolko_regionov_v_rossii_pochti_pobedili_covid_19 and regnum.ru/news/3288333.html).
Today, Russian officials reported registering 8947 new cases of infection and 377 new deaths from the coronavirus over the past 24 hours. They also said that Russia in April suffered the second lowest number of excess deaths as compared to 2019 since the pandemic began (t.me/COVID2019_official/3014 and rosstat.gov.ru/storage/mediabank/lN8GgJ5B/edn04-2021.htm).
Speaking to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Vladimir Putin was upbeat about the situation in Russia, noting that there had not been a single death related to the inoculation of the population (regnum.ru/news/3288645.html). His aides reported he will now resume face-to-face operations (regnum.ru/news/3288482.html).
And Russian officials said they expect the World Health Organization to give final approval to the Sputnik-5 vaccine in the next two months (regnum.ru/news/3288378.html). At least some Russians have been reluctant to get the shots because that approval has not yet been forthcoming.