Russians Aren’t Getting an Experimental Vaccine for a Virus With a 99.8% Survival Rate

Smart people

Westerners talk about distrust of government. The Russians actually practice it

MOSCOW—Last summer, Russia was the first nation to announce its approval of a Covid-19 vaccine. Dozens of countries from Mexico to Iran have since ordered millions of doses of the shot, known as Sputnik V.

But at home, Russia’s vaccination campaign has sputtered in the midst of one of the world’s highest levels of vaccine hesitancy. While the vaccine is free and widely available, only 3.5% of Russians have received at least one shot, compared with 17.1% in the U.S. and 32.1% in the U.K., according to Our World in Data, a project based at Oxford University that tracks the global vaccine rollout. Recent surveys show that less than a third of Russians are willing to get the Sputnik V vaccine. [Or any other.]

Behind the skepticism are lingering doubts about Sputnik V’s rapid development and an ingrained distrust of authorities stemming from the country’s Soviet past. Polls, for instance, show that many Russians believe that the coronavirus is a man-made biological weapon. At the same time, surveys indicate a strong current of Covid-19 disbelief in Russia.


While coronavirus infections in Russia have been falling, the slow acceptance of the vaccine leaves the country vulnerable to a new surge. Russia has had more than four million infections, the fourth-highest in the world. Vaccine hesitancy risks undermining the government’s goal of inoculating around 60% of the population by summer.

“We were on par with everybody else in developing the vaccine, but we’re now behind in administering it,” said Anton Gopka, dean of faculty of technological management and innovations at St. Petersburg’s ITMO University and general partner of healthcare investment firm ATEM Capital. “In the end, the big risk is that it will prolong the pandemic here.”

That isn’t a concern for Vadim Ivanov, a 55-year-old driver for St. Petersburg’s city maintenance department. He doesn’t trust the government or the healthcare system and believes the Covid-19 threat is overblown.

“I’m not getting a vaccine because I don’t believe in the coronavirus; it’s all about deception,” said Mr. Ivanov, who doesn’t usually wear a mask and rarely practices social distancing. “People say it’s all nonsense, it’s all far-fetched, it’s all invented.”

To speed the rollout, Russian authorities scrapped priority vaccination groups and opened the inoculation campaign to everyone in January. Vaccination centers have been set up in food courts, opera houses and shopping malls, with some outlets offering free ice cream for each shot.

“There is no shortage of vaccines,” Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, recently told reporters. “But one cannot say that there is a rush” to get a shot, he said. Officials expect demand for Sputnik V to increase as more Russians learn about the advantages of the vaccine. In addition to Sputnik V, Russia has approved two other Covid-19 vaccines.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who regularly praises the vaccine on national television and extols it in his conversations with foreign leaders, has yet to be vaccinated himself. The Kremlin has said Mr. Putin plans to get a vaccine during the late summer or early autumn after consulting with doctors.

“The government needs to do a better job at communicating the benefits of the vaccine,” Mr. Gopka said. “And of course people would get more comfortable if the head of state took it.”

The challenges of rolling the shot out across Russia’s vast land mass in the midst of harsh winter conditions have also hampered the campaign. On Thursday, Mr. Putin said nine of Russia’s 85 regions hadn’t begun vaccinating.

The Sputnik V shot has faced challenges from the start. It was approved in August, just a few months after development started and before large-scale clinical trials were conducted. Then, as Russia began to roll it out in December, production problems meant that the country could deliver only a fraction of the doses that officials had initially promised.

A peer-reviewed study, published last month in the Lancet, a British medical journal, showed that the vaccine was 91.6% effective in preventing symptomatic Covid-19 and had no serious side effects. Russian drug manufacturers, meanwhile, have recently stepped up production. Indeed, some analysts expect a glut of vaccines if demand doesn’t pick up.

Abroad, Russia has conducted a public-relations campaign, including posting video updates in English and maintaining a Twitter account for Sputnik V. According to U.S. officials, Russian intelligence agencies have mounted a campaign to undermine confidence in Pfizer Inc.’s and other Western vaccines, using online publications that in recent months have questioned the vaccines’ development and safety. The Kremlin denies these allegations.

More than 40 other countries have authorized Sputnik V for emergency use. European Union members Slovakia and Hungary have approved Sputnik V and on Thursday the bloc’s medicines regulator began a formal assessment that could lead to an authorization of the shot.

But many Russians remain unconvinced.

A survey released by the independent pollster Levada Center this week showed that only 30% of Russians are willing to get a Sputnik V shot, down from 38% in December, with many citing concern over possible side effects and doubts about the clinical trials.

“The vaccine has not been fully tested yet and [the mass vaccination campaign] is in fact a trial being carried out en masse on the residents of Russia without their knowledge,” said Tatyana Andreyeva, a 39-year-old human-resources director from Kaliningrad. She said she won’t get inoculated.

Ms. Andreyeva’s 10-year-old son got sick with Covid-19 last October but recovered quickly without infecting the rest of the family. “I do not consider Covid to be a serious and highly contagious disease,” she said.

Globally, Russians rank among the biggest vaccine skeptics. An Ipsos survey released in February showed that 42% of Russians would get a vaccine, compared with 71% in the U.S. and 57% in France.

Besides doubts about Sputnik V itself, analysts cite a general lack of trust in authorities and the health system.

Just 37% of Russians are satisfied with the quality of their healthcare system, compared with a global average of 65%, according to a 2019 Gallup poll.

After the end of the Soviet Union, funding for the healthcare system collapsed, many highly skilled medical professionals emigrated and medical research slowed. In 2010, the government launched an ambitious plan to improve the quality of healthcare in Russia and upgrade medical facilities. But by 2019, the number of hospitals and available beds declined, and officials said the quality of services had deteriorated sharply.

Nobody has touched the system infrastructure since the end of the ‘50s,” Veronika Skvortsova, then minister of health, said in 2019.

The distrust in government is a legacy of Russia’s Communist past, when Russians’ suspicion of authorities led many to rely on word-of-mouth and other informal sources of information, according to Margarita Zavadskaya, research fellow in political science at European University in St. Petersburg.

The Levada survey found that two-thirds of respondents believed the coronavirus is a man-made biological weapon. Among Russians who tend to rely on family and friends for information, nearly three-quarters believe it is a biological weapon.

“There’s a pattern of extremely low trust in all kinds of official authorities, other political institutions and the healthcare system,” Ms. Zavadskaya said.

Ms. Andreyeva in Kaliningrad said she tries to avoid relying on Russian healthcare in general.

“There is no help there, with rare exceptions,” she said. “The principle is—help yourself.”

Source: The Wall Street Journal

  1. Jim says

    Clearly Russian people have far more sense than western sheeple.

    1. ken says

      Russia and China know the disease is a fake and are just playing along.

      Sun Tzu: Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

  2. ken says

    “Polls, for instance, show that many Russians believe that the coronavirus is a man-made biological weapon. At the same time, surveys indicate a strong current of Covid-19 disbelief in Russia.”

    A piss poor biological weapon that has a 99.87% recovery rate (lol) And you really think they would produce a biologic weapon that could easily kill them? Come on! The best vaccine on the market is only about 20-30% effective. Many millions that take the flu vaccine get the flu.

    And that “disbelief” mention is a Wall Street article implying those that disbelieve are fringe morons with tin foil hats.

    Well,,, then why all the bribes to have doctors and hospitals diagnose covid?
    Why extra buckeroos for putting folks on ventilators killing over 90% of them?
    Why banish folks from filming the empty hospitals and parking lots?
    Why use a test never intended to be a diagnostic test as per the inventor?
    Why is ANY death within 28 days of a positive fake test, labeled as covid?
    How did they come up with vaccines with no actual genome of a isolated virus proven “scientifically” to cause the disease?
    Why are all deaths after taking the vaccine never the cause of the vaccine?
    Why push a vaccine that has better chances of causing adverse effects and deaths then the actual plague itself?
    Why take a vaccine when the medical establishment states it does NOT prevent and does NOT stop the transmission of the disease and that masks and distancing are still a requirement?
    Why push masks when the medical establishment absolutely knows are useless?
    Why social distance when the medical establishment absolutely knows droplets travel way past their 6 foot mandate
    Why lock people in their home when it is known that staying inside promotes more illnesses and depression?
    And why spend 4 trillion dollars of covid relief when the cost of the lockdowns was less than a trillion?

    Anyone believe that the above (and more) would be necessary for a legitimate disease?

    Anyone see pictures of the 1918 flu pandemic where pictures showed hundreds of people in tents outside of for sure filled up hospitals? No lying, No cheating, No bribing, No lockdowns, etc. There was some masking but it was discovered useless.

    And for grins and giggles,,, let’s “assume” the vaccine works great and prevents the disease and stops the spread. Why would any of those folks be worried about someone not vaccinated? After all,,, logic states the vaccinated could not get the disease!

    But no,,, logic doesn’t work in our dystopia.

    1. Quintus Sertorius says

      Nice comment!

  3. Idefix says

    Biological weapons are usually designed to disable troops/population, not kill it outright. The goal is to break activity (and economy by consequence), not kill ’em all outright. Russian MOD’s chief science advisor, Illnitskyi, stated in the Duma that the virus is a bioweapon created by globalists. It is implied that it was created to achieve their purposes of control and breaking economies of countries worldwide, which is what came to pass regardless of how deadly the virus itself is. Having had the illness, one can say it’s a very heavy flu at worst (with nasty side effects like liver/digestive tract damage). The better the physical shape of someone ill, the lighter the disease. Someone very healthy/young with a great immune system likely won’t even notice an infection. It’s not the killer plague it’s exaggerated to be, but it can disable a fellow for a couple (very unpleasant) weeks. But then again, any flu can. So the Russians are right at seeing it as overexaggerated too. A Russian genetic engineer, Pavel Volchkov, said the furin attachment part was likely added artificially. Without that, the disease is just a regular flu. It’s what makes the virus spread in and damage the lungs, liver and digestive tract (see ). This ties in with the bioweapon origin.
    So in summary, Russians are rational and see things the way they really are. They’re also fairly smart in relying on actual people’s experiences and social understanding instead of stupidly trusting government and press.

  4. Idefix says

    Besides which, the trick here is that the virus DOES NOT have to be deadly, otherwise far less people will be buying MRNA “vaccines” which are worth many billion $$$ while making most of the population infertile (or dying outright if they’re old or their bodies go anaphylactic). The satanism of it all is exactly in driving the masses crazy with fear while fleecing them for insane amounts of $$$ and removing their liberties. It’s all a major con to create that very same corporation-controlled faceless dystopia that sci-fi writers have been describing for many years.
    The Russian vaccine, by contrast, is a fairly harmless “disabled virus” type. Traditional, no evil gene modification/body alteration involved. Now of course vaccines can be toxic and dangerous by themselves, and apparently there are limits as to vaccination ages in Russia. Once again, people are starting to catch up and as the article shows they understand it’s an experimental vaccine being trialled on live people right now.

  5. Joe_Below says

    They know better.

  6. Mark says

    The Russians will soon come around when they realize you cannot travel outside the borders of their own country unless you can prove you have been vaccinated against COVID.The Bill Gates-Big Pharma cooperative is determined to achieve global vaccination, and it has the enthusiastic backing of the public-health authorities who will nevber admit a mistake, and are within striking distance of being proclaimed heroes a hundred times over for having defeated COVID with their unflinching leadership and forward thinking. Governments are pretending to balk at the coercion to get vaccinated, but they will cave to business interests such as the airlines, who say “Look – we’re scared. We just can’t operate knowing we could be carrying a passenger with a viral bomb in his body, and he might not even know it. You have to prove vaccination, or you can’t travel, and that’s that.”

    Also, something the article does not mention is that Russians are only broadly suspicious of their own Sputnik vaccine, and that’s because of the bad press it has gotten from the west. It’s no worse than western vaccines, but my niece and her husband – both Russian medical professionals, both living in Russia – say they are waiting for the Pfizer vaccine. They’re not vaccine-hesitant, they just don’t want the Russian vaccine. Another triumph for western propaganda.

    My own employer approached the union some time ago to sort of feel them out, see if the union was going to kick up a stink if the company specified you had to get vaccinated to keep your job. And lately, like most of the transport industry, they have petitioned the government to grant transport employees ‘essential worker’ status, and so get accelerated access to vaccinations. The government will fold, and say nothing when the company states its policy – you don’t have to take the shot, but if you won’t, you can’t work for us. Wait for it. It’s the biggest oligarchical victory in the history of the world; Bill Gates will probably be canonized as the global savior, and be richer than ever, and the Pharma companies have been granted a license to plunder government coffers for years to come; ‘experts’ have already opined that COVID will become endemic – always there, a low-level threat that never goes away, like the flu. To everything there is a season. Don’t forget your annual booster shot.

    1. 7.62x39 says

      Turn the television off for a moment and go get some fresh air. You wouldn’t believe trees fall in the forest unless the teevee told you. Your whole viewpoint comes from corporate media. As if the media tells the truth?

      Vaccine opposition is far more prevalent than you think. Central planning always fails over time. I think I have wasted enough of my time on your fear fantasy.

      1. Mark says

        Hey – there’s something you don’t see every day: a talking bullet. Wow. Thanks so much for wasting the valuable time that you did on one so unworthy, and I daresay it will unfold just as you say. Bless you for your wisdom.

        1. yuri says

          just the reverse packuda—China, Russia are proof…no debt, vast reserves…US fake economy 28 trillion $ debt

    2. yuri says

      again the ukrop durak knows zero…we entirely mistrust incompetent anglo vaccines—we don’t require vaccines for a mild virus, where fewer than 50,000 deaths r attributed…u stupidly assert what you do no know
      farcical ukrop!

    3. Robin Hood says

      I agree, government don’t mind if you refuse the shots but you wont be allowed out of your house so will just blackmail you instead. Your rights mean nothing, you are just stock to be tagged, tracked and chipped. When the lockdown came into force everyone just obeyed and that was the time we should have had massive demonstrations. Now its too late whatever they come up with next people will continue to comply because they have been dumbed down over the past 50 years.

      1. flashlight joe says

        The people are brainwashed zombies.

        Read Chapter 6 (12 pages) of Mein Kampf to learn about the incredible power of this “spiritual weapon” called war propaganda, which can lead to “…results that are almost beyond our understanding”.

        Read it and weep.

  7. Mark says

    Georgi Kantchev, by the way, is a staff writer for the Wall Street Journal, and though he is ‘Moscow-based’ he is as American as a cheeseburger, and a Navalny fan to boot.

    I don’t know why you’re celebrating his work here. Some seem to think he is endorsing Russian cleverness for being skeptical about vaccines, but they didn’t read the article very carefully. It is entirely targeted against the Sputnik vaccine, not against COVID vaccines in general.

    1. yuri says

      nothing celebrated— a report

  8. GMC says

    I can tell you my story about getting the Covid virus in Crimea. No one else around me – friends, family, and the neighborhood, got it – only the Amerikanska. lol . My doc was from the hospital that did have covid patients and they were very old folks and some died some didn’t. Why would my neighbors get a shot , when the only guy that got the virus – was the Американский ? lol They won’t. Unless they are travelers and in need of a shot document. Last summer at the Black Sea beaches – there were no masks – only pretty Russian chicks.

    1. Robin Hood says

      There is no COVID virus only a thing called influenza.

  9. Art says

    This is a psyop. Been run thousands of times throughout history. It’s all about control and power concentration. Rebrand a disease. Use a phony test. Carve out numbers of cases, infections, hospitalizations due to usual numbers. Scare the shit out of those prone to submit. Get a Dr. Fauci character to announce worse is coming every month. Jack up the test to produce more phony numbers. Do this for a year or two and most will barely remember their names. Take the plug and play vaccine, genuflect, before the almighty white jackets.

    1. Mark says

      I agree, but it is probably going to be a successful one. Very few people are going to want to pursue a legal challenge to being discriminated against if you cannot prove you have been vaccinated – lawsuits are expensive even if you win, and it is simpler to just get the shot. Unless a lot of people get sick or experience severe adverse reactions, most people are just going to bottle their anger at being bullied, and get the shot.

      The trouble is, the primary ones being offered here are the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, mRna vaccines whose long-term effects remain unknown because, like all the rest, they have not completed phase 3 clinical trials. It’s supposed to work by generating the spike protein for COVID-19 to generate antibodies, and then just disappear into your system. But what if it doesn’t?

      The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) specifically forbids discrimination against Europeans because of unvaccinated status…but the legal beagles seem to be drawing up a list of ‘legitimate reasons’ you can refuse vaccination;

      <i>”The ECHR recognizes the right to equality and guarantees against any type of discrimination. There is concern that vaccine passports could affect this protection if they structurally exclude a segment of the population. One of the arguments, also highlighted by the German Ethics Council, is that a vaccine pass could exacerbate structural disadvantages and lead to social stigmatization, especially in work environments.
      “Some countries are looking into whether employers can take sanctions against those who are not vaccinated or whether it is their duty of care to protect their residents, customers and employers. There are also questions regarding which grounds people can legitimately refuse [a jab] ranging from medical reasons, religious but also political beliefs,” says Mills.”</i>

      The public-health authorities have come so far with their crusade that ‘you gotta do it for the folks in your community; to not get vaccinated is selfish’ – they’re not going to stop now or back off. Their goal is to make everyone get vaccinated against COVID-19, and once that is achieved it will be a simple matter to warn of ‘variants’ and ‘mutations’ each year which render your last shot useless, and require a new ‘jab’. We’re on the road to continuous and repeated vaccination every year.

      I don’t want the vaccine simply because I don’t think there is any need for a vaccination that does not even guarantee to protect you from catching the disease it is a specific against – all it promises is to mitigate your symptoms if you do catch it – and because I don’t like being bossed around by government. But I can see that is not going to be accepted as an excuse.

  10. Bonard says

    Quem está pagando a mídia do coronavirus?

  11. yuri says

    Expected since few deaths per capita despite that restaurants, etc open, masks not required
    Russian universal health care quite advanced; Russia possesses more hospital beds per capita than all but Japan/S. Korea….Russians are aesthetic and critical—the opposite of amerikans that will say thank you after been served a tasteless burger

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