Front-line workers in Russia oppose Putin’s vaccine


Front-line workers in Russia oppose Putin’s vaccine





Russian President, Vladimir Putin announced the approval of Russia’s Sputnik-V coronavirus vaccine on August 11 amid much fanfare, saying it works “quite effectively” in forming a stable immunity.

How would he know this? Because the Russian President revealed one of his daughters had already taken it.
Speaking on Russian state TV at the time, Putin said his daughter had a slightly higher temperature after each dose of the two-stage coronavirus vaccine, but that “Now she feels well.”
Russian authorities have singled out teachers — as well as doctors — as key workers who will get access to the vaccine first, even before crucial phase 3 human trials have finished.
But that’s not gone down well with some sections of these frontline workers who don’t buy Putin’s claims of the efficacy of the vaccine and are reluctant to be used as human guinea pigs.
On September 1, Russian classrooms reopened for the first time since March amid the Covid-19 pandemic — the same day the country surpassed 1 million coronavirus cases.
Teachers were meant to be among the first to benefit from Russia’s new coronavirus vaccine, especially given the close contact with hundreds of children that they are exposed to on a daily basis. But CNN is learning that few — if any — have so far taken up the offer to be vaccinated.
Developed by the Moscow-based Gamaleya Institute, the Sputnik-V vaccine was named after the surprise 1957 launch of the world’s first satellite by the Soviet Union.
Russia’s claim of victory at being the first to approve a coronavirus vaccine in a worldwide pandemic was initially met with widespread concern and unanswered questions over its safety and effectiveness, and not just from outside the country.
A Russian teachers’ union, “Uchitel,” started an online petition calling on members to reject the vaccine outright on safety grounds, and expressing concern that vaccination — currently voluntary — should not be made mandatory unless clinical trials are complete.
Employees walk on May 20 in a passage at the headquarters of Russia's biotech company BIOCAD, which has been working on a vaccine against the coronavirus.

Reality can differ from promises

Yuri Varlamov, a teacher in Moscow and a member of the union, said he doesn’t want to take the vaccine because he doesn’t believe it is safe right now.
“Before the end of trials, they cannot make it mandatory. But I know that in some schools and state bodies, people are talking about mandatory status of this vaccine by the end of this year,” Varlamov said.
Marina Balouyeva, co-chairman of the “Uchitel” union, said a petition against compulsory vaccination for teachers was more of a precaution.
Balouyeva said she is wary of Sputnik-V for several reasons.
“Firstly, it is generally known that the quality of domestic vaccines is worse than that of foreign ones,” she said.
“Secondly, the vaccine was created at railway speed, which already raises concerns. It was created in haste.”
Despite promises from authorities that taking the vaccine will be voluntary, she said she fears things could go differently in reality, as often happens in Russian state institutions, according to CNN.
Front-line workers in Russia oppose Putin’s vaccine

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