Vaccines but nobody wants them

It took several months for the vaccination campaigns against Covid-19 to get going in Europe due to vaccine shortages. But now a new problem is emerging: certain sections of the population are proving hard to reach or uninterested in the jab. Commentators look at the reasons.

Open/close all quotes
Nowaja Gaseta (RU) /

A classic boomerang effect

Although Russia was one of the first countries with a vaccine, only 6.5 percent of its population has been vaccinated so far. Moscow should not be surprised, finds Novaya Gazeta:

“The vaccination phobia in Russia is a consequence of years of degradation of its public institutes. In a closed, corrupted society, citizens expect nothing good from the state, and the vaccine is no exception. All the more so when selected propaganda forces that otherwise declare black to be white on a daily basis are mobilised to promote 'Sputnik'. ... The countries that vaccinate successfully are those whose citizens trust their governments and social institutions. ... It is quite possible that only those who have built a normal democracy - or a pure totalitarianism where no one is even asked - will enter the post-Covid future.”

Népszava (HU) /

No willingness to get the jab without transparency

For Népszava there's a clear connection between the willingness to be vaccinated and trust in politicians:

“When it comes to accepting a new vaccine to fight a disease that was previously unknown, trust is the most important factor in the decision-making process. ... And what is needed to build trust? Honest communication, transparency and respect for scientific evidence. Which of these things have we actually experienced in Hungary in the past 16 months?”

Aftonbladet (SE) /

Target the disadvantaged

In Sweden, vaccination centres in poorer neighbourhoods where many people with immigrant backgrounds live are often empty. Aftonbladet calls on the health authorities to send a simple letter:

“A call-up letter in the post with the date and time for the next injection. Accessible health workers to talk to those who have concerns about the vaccine, and outreach that actually works. We see many worry lines when politicians discuss why the vaccination campaign is running so unevenly. But few people have come up with the simplest explanation: in Stockholm it's not just that testing got off the ground much later in poorer neighbourhoods. Vaccination also reached the rich areas first.”