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Less than half of Russians worried about catching Covid-19, poll shows, but only one in three say they have had vaccine or virus

Less than half of Russians worried about catching Covid-19, poll shows, but only one in three say they have had vaccine or virus
The majority of Russians believe they haven’t yet had Covid-19, new research reveals, but more than half of people say they aren’t actually worried about catching the virus and far fewer say they’ve signed up for a vaccine so far.

That’s according to a new survey conducted by Moscow’s Levada Center, a pollster registered as a foreign agent by Russia’s Justice Ministry over links to overseas funding, which found that the majority of those asked were broadly unconcerned about the personal consequences testing positive would have.

Around 55% of the 1,620 respondents told the pollsters that they were unafraid of contracting the virus, while 42% said they were worried about the possibility.

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Virtually all restrictions have been relaxed in the main urban centers, such as Moscow and St. Petersburg. Many have credited the ability to pursue this policy to the idea that Russia achieved herd immunity early on. However, only around a quarter of those polled believed they had been sick with the virus, with a mere 7% saying they actually received a diagnosis.

This contrasts with population studies, which found that up to 44% of Moscow residents had antibodies. While the situation may be different outside of the capital, it also suggests that many people had infections with few or no symptoms.

Only 11% of respondents said that they had been immunized against Covid-19, despite Russia becoming the first country anywhere in the world to register a formula in the summer of last year. On Wednesday, Deputy Minister of Health Oleg Gridnev warned that the pace of vaccination needed to be stepped up. According to him, “in order to avoid a jump in the incidence rate, 60% of the population must be vaccinated by September-October.” At present, around 25% have received a jab.

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However, reluctance to take the vaccine is understood to be a major hurdle to more people signing up for their doses. In a report published in March, Swiss investment bank Credit Suisse found that Russia ranked in last place among eight selected countries for interest in the jab, with only around 30% wanting to be vaccinated against Covid-19. This leaves the population lagging behind other developed nations.

Russia recorded 9,369 positive tests for the virus on Tuesday and reported 366 deaths.

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