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Human rights chief slams 'dishonest' mandatory Russian Covid-19 vaccine programs, warning people shouldn't be FORCED to take jab

Human rights chief slams 'dishonest' mandatory Russian Covid-19 vaccine programs, warning people shouldn't be FORCED to take jab
Russia's human rights commissioner has said she is receiving a large number of appeals from citizens over new rules requiring many workers in public-facing jobs to sign up for coronavirus vaccines, amid a new spike in infections.

Ombudsman Tatiana Moskalkova, the country's civil-liberties watchdog, told listeners to the Vesti FM radio station on Tuesday that she was concerned about the measures that have been imposed in Moscow, St Petersburg and in a number of other regions. In the Russian capital, 60% of employees working in industries like hospitality, transport and entertainment venues will have to have received the jab.

“I believe that pushing vaccinations in this way is a dishonest game – a dishonest action," she said. "Of course, the idea itself is correct, to protect society," Moskalkova added, warning, however, that "the mechanisms by which it is being implemented are giving rise to mass psychosis and making people fear coercion."

Also on rt.com Moscow orders ‘mandatory’ vaccination against Covid-19 for some workers serving the public as cases soar in Europe’s largest city

"Most importantly," she said, "it is not clear why those who do not go for the vaccine should be discriminated against, because they have antibodies – they have already been ill – or they cannot for medical reasons."

Moskalkova gave the example of the mining giant Norilsk Nickel, one of Russia's largest businesses. "All their employees were told that if they do not get vaccinated, they won't ever be able to go on summer vacation and they can forget about their bonuses. There are a huge number of threats, [including that] they will be fired," she said.

Officials in Moscow published the order last week, as the city set a record for its maximum daily number of recorded Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.. Describing  the epidemiological situation as “unfavorable,” the city’s top sanitary doctor, Elena Andreeva, warned that “there is an increase in the number of people who actively visit public places while sick,” attending venues and using mass-transit systems.

Defending the requirements for those serving the public to be vaccinated, the Mayor of Moscow, Sergey Sobyanin, said that “ultimately, it’s up to everyone to get vaccinated or not,” he said. “You can protect yourself or hope that everything will work out... This is a personal matter... as long as you sit at home or in the country.”

READ MORE: With cases rising, Russian Ministry of Health is planning for Covid-19 re-vaccinations, as antibodies wane in early jab recipients

“But when you go out into public places and come into contact with other people, willingly or unwillingly, you become an accomplice of the epidemiological process. This is the chain link for the spread of a dangerous virus,” the mayor said.

“Moreover, if you work in an organization that serves a large circle of people, then in a pandemic it is definitely not only your own business, no matter what personal protective equipment you use,” Sobyanin added.

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