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.
“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.