Moscow, Russia | Facing a “dramatic” situation, Moscow and its entire region on Tuesday made vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory in the service sector, the first in Russia in the face of a slipping vaccination campaign and in the absence of any confinement.
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This decision is considered one of the most important in the world in terms of the size of the population involved.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin solemnly declared on his site: “We are simply obliged to do everything possible to implement mass vaccinations as quickly as possible and stop this terrible disease.”
He added that the city’s health authorities “issued today a decision regarding the compulsory vaccination of workers in the service sector.”
Soon, the Moscow region issued the same measure.
They order this to vaccinate, among others, transport personnel, shops, restaurants, cultural places, beauty salons, health and education, banks, etc.
The authorities did not specify how many people were involved among the 20 million residents of Moscow and its region.
The Moscow health authorities justified this measure, noting that more than 70% of the infections that occurred in the past 10 days are related to the working population. Mr. Sobyanin had already announced not to work in the week of June 15.
According to this decree, 60% of workers in the third sector must have received two doses of the vaccine before August 15.
Currently, 12,000 people are hospitalized in Moscow due to the novel coronavirus and infection rates have “peaked” by the end of 2020, the mayor noted, referring to the second deadly wave in Russia.
“Most of these people would not get sick if they were vaccinated against Covid in a timely manner,” he said.
The duty to vaccinate contradicts statements made by President Vladimir Putin so far.
“We should not talk about compulsory vaccination, it is unreasonable,” he declared at the end of May, while repeatedly calling on the Russians to vaccinate one of the vaccines developed by Russia, Sputnik-V in the lead.
In response to a question Wednesday, his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said no national commitments were foreseen. However, he indicated the day before that jurisdiction rests with the regional authorities.
Furious for weeks at the refusal to vaccinate his constituents, the Moscow mayor decided that non-vaccinators who go “to public places and (communicate) with other people” are “partners in the process. Epidemic.”
For nearly a year, the state apparatus and the public media have highlighted the good management of the health crisis and the ingenuity of Sputnik V, developed by Russia and available for more than six months.
But according to a poll conducted by the independent Levada Institute in April, 60% of Russians do not want the vaccine, despite scientific validation, after decades of Soviet and then Russian propaganda and years of budget cuts in the health sector.
Only 1.8 million of the 12 or 13 million Muscovites are vaccinated.
On Wednesday, the country said it had counted 13,397 new cases in the past 24 hours, and 396 deaths. Moscow scored 5782 and 75 respectively.
Russia is among the countries hardest hit by the epidemic. According to the statistics agency Rosstat, more than 270,000 deaths were related to it at the end of April, more than double the 127,576 deaths that the government has admitted so far in its daily calculations.
After the strict containment of the spring of 2020, Russia, in order to preserve its economy, put in place very limited restrictions to combat Covid during the second deadly wave at the end of the year.
Most of these measures were lifted in early 2021, so the Russians lived a largely normal life for six months. Mask wearing is uncertain despite the applicable obligation.
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