Sputnik V in Russia: no rush on the vaccine
After giving Sputnik V early official approval Russia is once again going its own way when it comes to coronavirus vaccination: in the country's large cities vaccination with Sputnik V is now available to anyone who wants it, without prioritisation. However, despite the relatively high infection rates demand remains manageable and according to surveys only half of the population, at most, wants to be vaccinated. What's going on?
Clearly not part of the crisis plan
In a Facebook post republished by newsru.com, economics professor Konstantin Sonin wonders why the Kremlin is not pushing the vaccination campaign in the media:
“In recent years, Russia's leadership has turned up the propaganda machine to full blast on far less important issues. ... Of course it's far more difficult to convince people of the merits of a vaccine than to spread nonsense about Ukraine or the US. ... But no one is even trying - which is odd. Why are we hearing nothing from our heads of state and their subordinates about how they've been vaccinated? ... I'm beginning to get the impression that the whole thing has a political background: that there was no decision at the highest level to the effect that the vaccinations against coronavirus are an important crisis measure.”
We've seen it all before
Commenting in Vzgylad, political scientist Gleb Kuznetsov argues that the government is right to try to avoid a rush for a product in short supply:
“Europe has become hysterical about vaccination. Yet the percentage of those willing to be vaccinated is about as high as it is in Russia. ... Europe is doing what was done with sausages in the final years of the USSR: creating artificial shortages and distribution bottlenecks and forcing the population into a strict hierarchical order regarding access to (with all the corrupt scheming and scandals this entails). ... Our leaders lived through the late Soviet era - and are therefore avoiding Soviet-style management of the vaccination programme. ... If Europe did the same, the available vaccines would easily suffice for all those who want to be vaccinated 'here and now'.”