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21 May, 2021 09:05

'The worst city in Europe for vaccinations': Moscow's mayor frustrated at lack of rush to get Covid-19 jabs in Russian capital

'The worst city in Europe for vaccinations': Moscow's mayor frustrated at lack of rush to get Covid-19 jabs in Russian capital

Russia’s coronavirus immunization program is too slow and not enough people are receiving jabs, officials have warned, despite the country having been the first in the world to register a vaccine that protects against the virus.

Alexander Gorelov, the epidemiology research director at national health regulator Rospotrebnadzor, delivered the bleak verdict on Thursday, saying that “unfortunately, there is something of a lag in the rate of vaccination behind what we would like to have in our country.”

He added that a total of 24 million people had received at least one injection which, while comparable in absolute terms to many other European nations, accounts for only around one in six of Russia’s population.

“On the one hand, there is a variety of vaccines,” Gorelov said, referring to Russia’s three approved domestic-made formulas, but “on the other, the rate of vaccination leaves much to be desired.” He suggested that anti-vaccine sentiment is likely playing a role in people’s reluctance to sign up to receive one.

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The mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin, claimed in a video released on Friday that fewer people in the Russian capital had received a jab “than in any other European city.” He said that 1.3 million people had already been immunized and that, while “this isn’t a bad figure,” it should already be “at least double that.”

Sobyanin urged Muscovites to sign up for the vaccine program, revealing that around 9,000 people in the city are currently in hospital with Covid-19.

The Russian government reportedly intends to vaccinate 60% of the country’s population by the end of the year, which would mean quadrupling the number who have already received shots and require an additional 29.7 million doses.

Also on rt.com UN chief urges WHO to approve Sputnik V, calls Russian Covid jab ‘one of key elements’ in solving global vaccination problem

Later on Friday, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko announced that the situation with Covid-19 infections in the country was “tense” and told regional authorities to analyze local data and “based on this, make decisions on restrictive measures.”

Since an initial tough lockdown in the first half of last year, much of Russia has avoided tough pandemic rules, with businesses and public spaces operating virtually normally.

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