Study reveals Covid vaccine fears of Russians
Russians are fearful about the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, including vaccine requirements and new restrictions on those who haven't had a jab – but they’re less concerned about the prospect of being infected themselves.
That's according to CROS, which published its National Anxiety Index on Wednesday, revealing the biggest worries and phobias keeping people up at night.
As per the analysis, the rollout of a QR-code system barring those without vaccines or natural antibodies from mass events and public spaces in many areas is the biggest source of concern, coming out on top in 70 of the country's regions.
The next most common fear was vaccination against Covid-19, which is among the top three causes of anxiety in 68 regions. In comparison, the fear of infection itself, as well as the spread of new strains, such as Delta and Omicron, was in the top three in 46 regions.
“Unlike 2020, in 2021 the main concern is not the spread of coronavirus, but the restrictions associated with it,” the authors wrote.
Worries not related to the pandemic came in considerably lower, with “the growth of cruel crimes” listed among the top three anxieties of Russians in 36 regions. This comes after there was a public outcry following the shooting at Perm State University in September which left six people dead.
The release of the findings comes as vaccine uptake against Covid-19 in the world’s largest country remains stubbornly low, with the rollout hindered by hesitancy and skepticism. Speaking last week at his annual press conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin cautioned about the nationwide collective immunity level, which is made up of both people who are vaccinated and those who have recovered from coronavirus. “Our neighbors talk about the need to achieve a coverage of 90-95%. We have 59.4% – which is low,” he said.
The Russian State Duma adopted the first reading of a draft bill requiring QR-code passes for accessing public places nationwide on December 16. However, a large number of regions have already introduced measures barring those who have not been vaccinated or recovered from the virus from mass events, public spaces, and even mass transit.
At the beginning of December, Putin said that Russian officials “are trying to follow a path of persuasion rather than of compulsion.” However, authorities in Moscow made vaccination against Covid-19 obligatory for employees in a wide range of public-facing roles, including catering and transport, earlier this year. Workers who refuse run the risk of being sent home from work without pay.