Staunton, August 24 – Gennady Onishchenko, a Duma member who earlier was a leading public health official, says that the campaign against the covid vaccine has been “effective” in keeping many Russians from getting their shots and calls for those behind it to end their efforts so more people will get vaccinated (regnum.ru/news/3351807.html).
His words are a rare comment by a Russian official acknowledging that the media efforts of those opposed to the vaccination are a primary cause of the low levels of those who have received the shots there, but continuing resistance is forcing medical experts like Onishchenko to shift gears.
And while Moscow continues to follow Vladimir Putin’s insistence that vaccinations must be voluntary and that no one should lose a job by refusing to get the shots, the deputy’s remarks suggest that there may be growing support for moving against those who speak or post online against the covid vaccine.
Today, Russian officials reported registering 18,833 new cases of infection over the last 24 hours, the lowest number in two months, but a still high 794 covid deaths. Experts predicted that Russia is likely to see a rise in the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths as people return from their dachas and children go to school (t.me/COVID2019_official/3474and regnum.ru/news/3351748.html).
Progress against the pandemic has been extremely uneven, and in some places, officials are taking draconian steps. In Bashkortostan, for instance, the government announced that the fall session of the republic assembly would take place in a distance format rather than face to face (regnum.ru/news/society/3344522.html and regnum.ru/news/3351488.html).
In Moscow, in contrast, officials said that because 80 percent of teachers have now been vaccinated, they are lifting the requirement that instructors wear a mask at all times during the educational process (regnum.ru/news/3351896.html and regnum.ru/news/3351911.html).
On the vaccine front, the Chumakov Center said it was modifying the KoviVak vaccine to make it more effective against new strains of the coronavirus, and the health ministry said that it has now approved Sputnik-Lite for use in people over 60, for those getting revaccinations, and for those who have recovered from infections (https://regnum.ru/news/3351982.html and
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· The health ministry said that the certificates and QR codes issued to the vaccinated will remain valid for one year (regnum.ru/news/3351749.html). In a related development, Leningrad Oblast police have exposed a criminal center there that has earned millions of rubles from the sale of fake vaccination certificates (regnum.ru/news/3352321.html).
· The health ministry has ordered doctors to vaccinate those suffering from HIV/AIDS, apparently ending a standoff in the northern capital (regnum.ru/news/3351710.html).
· A new survey has found that the pandemic has sparked new interest among young Russians in becoming epidemiologists and medical researchers (regnum.ru/news/3351761.html).