12/07/2020, 09.53
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Moscow begins mass vaccination against Covid-19

by Vladimir Rozanskij

Russia is the first country in the world to initiate mass procedures, along with China and Great Britain. Scepticism over "shortcuts" taken to speed up vaccine production. About 70% of Russians do not believe it necessary to get vaccinated. Over 7,000 soldiers have already been vaccinated: they will be the first to transport the frozen doses of the vaccine to the streets of Russia.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - Electronic registration has been in place for 3 days on the website of the municipality of Moscow for vaccination with the Sputnik V preparation, prepared in record time to win the "world race" for an anti-Covid vaccine.

The news spread all over the world is accompanied by a certain scepticism due to the "shortcuts" taken by the Russians to speed up the production of the vaccine. Russia is the first country in the world to initiate mass procedures, along with China and Great Britain. Kazakhstan has started autonomous production of the Russian vaccine.

For now, only education, health and social services operators are registering in Moscow, together with the categories of people most at risk (such as pensioners and pregnant women): they must go to the place indicated with their identity documents and professional attestations. "In the coming weeks, with the arrival of large quantities of vaccines, we will widen the registration ranges," promised Mayor Sergej Sobjanin. For now, you can only book the first vaccination, the second will be established by the doctor on the day of the first. The second "dosage" will be specifically communicated on the municipal sites, with the dates and indicated centres.

Those who intend to get vaccinated must not have chronic diseases (arthritis, various forms of osteoarthritis or allergies to food products), or have been suffering from severe forms of lung disease for at least two weeks. At least 30 days must have passed from the moment of the last vaccination, such as the flu vaccination. Vaccination points have been prepared throughout Moscow, with refrigerators, refrigerated rooms and specialized personnel, which will be open every day from 8 to 20. As the deputy mayor Anastasia Rakova pointed out, at least 70 vaccination centres are open in the capital.

The procedure takes about an hour: 10 minutes for a preventive visit, 15 for the preparation of the vaccine, which must be extracted from the refrigerator; half an hour of control after administration. At the end, each patient receives a certificate with notes relating to the two planned vaccinations. The preparation was obtained using bio-technological methods, and does not contain traces of the coronavirus itself, but only vectors with parts of the virus genome, against which the immunity reacts by processing the necessary antibodies.

Mass vaccination was initially scheduled for January-February 2021, but in recent days, President Vladimir Putin himself decided to start immediately. For now, the procedure is only available in Moscow, and not in the Federation regions; Putin has promised to make another 2 million doses available in the coming days. Prime Minister Mikhail Mišustin said in turn that all regions are ready to start mass vaccination, "in an orderly and safe way".

In October, when the first quantities of the vaccine still in the experimental phase had arrived, news spread in the Russian press that several health workers had been forced to take the vaccinate, some had been offered money, others the threat of dismissal. The Kremlin was also keen to specify that vaccination can only be voluntary, as Prime Minister Mišustin reiterated at the end of November, and the president's spokesman, Dmitrij Peskov, confirmed on 2 December: "There will be no nominal vaccination of the population, it can only be voluntary, even if vaccination will be the decisive phase in the fight against the coronavirus ". There is currently a certain scepticism among the population: polls show that about 70% of Russians do not consider it necessary to get vaccinated.

Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov announced that over 7,000 soldiers have already been vaccinated: they will be the first to carry the frozen doses of the vaccine through the streets of Russia, in the so-called "cold chain of salvation". From the first results, only 1.5% of the vaccinated (273 people) fell ill with coronavirus after the procedure.

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