‘At this stage, I’m not ready to get vaccinated’: Some Russian doctors refuse to take Sputnik V shot, citing efficacy concerns

Credit: EPA/Shutterstock
Credit: EPA/Shutterstock

Moscow opened the doors of Russia’s first 70 vaccination centers [December 2], offering healthcare workers and other crucial groups a shot of Russian-developed vaccine Sputnik V.

Since then, only 15,000 people have been vaccinated, according to Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin. It means that on average, each clinic inoculated about 15 people a day.

Empty waiting halls in Moscow clinics and wasted shots could be the symptoms of a larger issue Russia will have to face as the vaccination program expands nationwide: widespread mistrust in its vaccine.

Russia approved its first Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, in August after testing it on several dozen people in a study with great fanfare from state TV.

The news of Sputnik V’s approval ahead of large-scale Phase 3 trials necessary to test the vaccine’s safety and efficacy drew considerable criticism from scientific and medical circles who worried that Russia was short-cutting an established process for political and PR gain.

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“At this stage, I’m not ready to get vaccinated, as the Russian vaccine is not transparent, and its effectiveness hasn’t been proven,” said Viktoria Alexandrova, a general practitioner in Saint Petersburg. “And all of that because of this absurd political race on who’s going to get the vaccine faster.”

“So maybe in two years,” Alexandrova added.

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