Last summer, Russia was the first nation to announce its approval of a Covid-19 vaccine. Dozens of countries from Mexico to Iran have since ordered millions of doses of the shot, known as Sputnik V.
But at home, Russia’s vaccination campaign has sputtered in the midst of one of the world’s highest levels of vaccine hesitancy. While the vaccine is free and widely available, only 3.5% of Russians have received at least one shot, compared with 32.1% in the U.K., according to Our World in Data, a project based at Oxford University that tracks the global vaccine rollout. In the U.S., it’s about 18%. Recent surveys show that less than a third of Russians are willing to get the Sputnik V vaccine.
Behind the skepticism are lingering doubts about Sputnik V’s rapid development and an ingrained distrust of authority stemming from the country’s Soviet past. Polls show many Russians believe the coronavirus is a man-made biological weapon. At the same time, surveys indicate a strong current of Covid-19 disbelief in Russia.
Author(s): Georgi Kantchev
Publication Date: 8 March 2021
Publication Site: Wall Street Journal