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World

Over 60% of Russians don't want Sputnik V vaccine: Reuters poll

  • Nearly two thirds of Russians are not willing to receive Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, and about the same number believe the new coronavirus was created artificially as a biological weapon, an independent pollster said on Monday.
01 Mar 2021

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Nearly two-thirds of Russians are not willing to receive Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, and about the same number believe the new coronavirus was artificially created as a biological weapon, an independent pollster stated on Monday.

According to a poll conducted by the Levada Center last month, 62% of people did not want to get Russia’s domestically produced vaccine, and that the highest level of reluctance was identified among 18 to 24-year-olds.

Most respondents cited side effects, which can include fever and fatigue, as the primary reason for not wanting to get vaccinated from the virus.

The poll, which sampled 1,601 people across 50 regions, also found that 64% of people thought the new coronavirus was created as a biological weapon.

The origin of the COVID-19 pandemic has been deeply politicised, but the vast majority of virologists and infectious disease experts state that it is most likely to have evolved naturally.

A World Health Organization (WHO) mission to China said last month that it was not looking further into whether the virus escaped from a lab, which it considered highly unlikely.

The mission has said its main hypotheses are that the virus originated in a bat, although there are several possible scenarios for how it passed to humans, possibly first by infecting another species of animal.

The belief that the virus was created as a biological weapon is predominant in Russians aged 40-54, with 71% of them holding that view, the poll found. Only 23% think the virus emerged naturally.

Russia, which has recorded over 4.3 million coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, has approved three vaccines against COVID-19.

The country of around 145 million people launched a mass vaccination campaign with Sputnik V in December.

On the 10th of February, Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said that more than two million Russians have been vaccinated with at least the first dose of Sputnik V.