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23 Jun, 2021 15:00

Nearly half of Russians now back mandatory Covid-19 vaccination & 61% of those yet to get jab now planning to do so, polls say

Nearly half of Russians now back mandatory Covid-19 vaccination & 61% of those yet to get jab now planning to do so, polls say

New rules requiring vaccination of workers across several Russian regions have stoked controversy in recent days as the country deals with a rise in new Covid-19 infections. However, polls now say the measures may be working.

Research by the Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion, a state-backed pollster, seen by Moscow daily RBK on Wednesday, showed that around 49% of 1,600 respondents across the country took a positive view of the decision by officials in Moscow, while 30% were more negative.

Companies operating in a number of sectors in the Russian capital, such as hospitality, transport and leisure will have to ensure 60% of their workforce is vaccinated or else face hefty fines. Authorities have confirmed that staff can be suspended without pay if they refuse doses, in order to meet the quotas. The poll found that while the measures imposed in Moscow enjoyed broad support in other areas, there was actually less support within the city.

Also on rt.com With infectious Delta strain on rise, Moscow to require proof of Covid-19 vaccination or negative test to visit bars & restaurants

Another study, which made headlines on  Wednesday, appeared to show that the new measures were driving an increase in those seeking appointments for a jab. The research, conducted by sociologists at Synergy University, and seen by RIA Novosti, found that 70% of respondents had not yet been vaccinated. Of them, over 60% said that they would soon have a first dose.

Those signing up often cited restrictions on unvaccinated people as the rationale behind their decision. Some 35% said they were ready to be vaccinated in order to keep their jobs, compared to 30% saying it was down to health reasons alone. Another 16% said they would do it in order to help scrap rules requiring the wearing of masks as soon as possible, while 12% wanted to be able to travel freely.

On Tuesday, Moscow authorities announced that only vaccinated people, as well as those who have had the virus recently, would be able to freely enter bars, cafes and restaurants in the city. Those eligible will be able to scan a QR code to prove they have antibodies, while those who are not eligible will have to have taken PCR tests within the past three days.

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

Russia's human rights ombudsman, Tatiana Moskalkova, called the move “a dishonest game.” She said that “the mechanisms by which it is being implemented are giving rise to mass psychosis and making people fear coercion.”

The Kremlin has defended the city government's decision, however, with presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying it supported the new measures in response to a uniquely difficult epidemiological situation.

Moscow set a new record for the maximum number of coronavirus cases recorded in a single day last week, with officials revealing on Friday that 9,056 positive tests had been logged within the previous 24 hours. The city's Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said that the situation is “rapidly deteriorating,” and that the sudden rise in cases was “quite unexpected” given estimated levels of immunity in the population.

Also on rt.com Moscow grapples with record rise in Covid-19 cases, new curfew extended as bosses told they can lay off employees who refuse jab

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