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14 Aug, 2020 12:11

Survey suggests half of Russian doctors will refuse to take rapidly created Covid-19 vaccine – developer says fears unfounded

Survey suggests half of Russian doctors will refuse to take rapidly created Covid-19 vaccine – developer says fears unfounded

Despite official claims that the world’s first coronavirus vaccine is completely safe, 52 percent of Russian doctors who responded to an online survey indicated that they’re not ready to take Sputnik V.

That has led to a sharp rebuke from the head of the team that developed the solution. Alexander Gintsburg, of the Gamaleya Institute, explained to the TASS news agency that doctors who refuse the vaccination must understand the consequences. According to Gintsburg, if medical professionals reject the vaccine, the only way for them to get antibodies is to “get severely sick, because the mild form does not give long-term protection.”

“Catching a severe form of Covid-19 is likely to have consequences for the rest of one’s life and, in a certain number of cases, as doctors know, death,” Gintsburg added. “Therefore, there’s a choice: refuse to be vaccinated and follow this path, or get the vaccine. "

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Of the more than three thousand participants in the survey … only 24.5 percent said they’d agree to vaccination, with many worried at the pace of development and the lack of data proving its efficacy. Meanwhile, 48 percent of respondents were wary that the vaccine had been created in such a short time, with only 20 percent saying they’d recommend the vaccination to patients, colleagues, and acquaintances. Of those surveyed, 66 percent said there was insufficient data on its effectiveness.

The survey, which received 3,040 responses, was conducted via a service for the medical profession called ‘Doctor’s Guide’. The service is a phone app that offers calculators, recommends reference books, and provides medical news and other helpful resources for healthcare professionals. The app is completely free and, according to its creators, is used by more than 400,000 doctors.

On August 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the country had registered the world's first Covid-19 vaccine, named Sputnik V. Due to be available to the general public from January 2021, it will first be administered to medical workers and teachers who voluntarily choose to take it. Sputnik V’s rapid development has been criticized by some Western countries and medical experts, who believe that production has been rushed and that the vaccine has not yet been proven safe. However, Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko has called such criticism “groundless.”

The vaccine was produced by Moscow’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, which tested its safety and efficacy in conjunction with the country’s Ministry of Defense.

Gintsburg also noted that Sputnik V went through all the necessary procedures to prove its effectiveness and safety, and that information about the vaccine will soon be published for all to read.

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