KIV, Ukraine (AP) – After receiving its first shipment of coronavirus vaccine, Ukraine found itself fighting a new epidemic by persuading its reluctant people to be shot.
Although infections are rising sharply, Ukrainians are increasingly opposed to vaccinations. According to a poll released earlier this month by the Ki’s International Institute of Sociology, 60 percent of the country’s population does not want to be vaccinated, up from 40 percent a month ago.
The resistance seems to be rooted in a long-standing suspicion of vaccines dating back to the Soviet era, compounded by politicians’ accusations of low-quality vaccines, corruption scandals and misinformation spread on social media. Even more surprising is the fact that reluctance still occurs even among those at risk who pass rescue drugs on a daily basis to others – medical workers.
In the mining town of Selyedov, 700 kilometers (420 miles) east of Ki, only 5% of the medical staff agreed to be vaccinated. Among the declining was Olena Obeidko, a 26-year-old nurse who works at the COVID-19 intensive care unit, where people die every week.
“I decided not to get vaccinated. I doubt the quality of the vaccine. “I am afraid there will be side effects,” he said.
So few people preferred to get the personnel that the mobile brigade that came with Selyed to manage them finished vaccinations for themselves so as not to waste the vaccine.
“Such a low number of vaccinated people is due to low confidence in the vaccine that has entered Ukraine,” said Olena Marchenko, head of the Indian-made AstraZeneca vaccine. “It is due to the prejudices and information spread on social networks. “People read a lot, they have a negative attitude towards the Indian vaccine.”
Prominent politicians have fueled that suspicion.
Former President Petro Poroshenko said in parliament this month that he had asked doctors in a district why they were resisting vaccines. And they brought it because of corruption and incompetence. ”
Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has expressed outrage, demanding that parliament pass legislation to compensate those affected by the vaccine.
Vaccine corruption scandals began even before the first doses reached the country. The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine has announced that it has launched an investigation into a September deal to purchase 1.9 million doses of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine for 504 hryvnias ($ 18) per dose. Chinese manufacturers have not published full reports on its effectiveness, մեկ According to a study conducted in Brazil, it has an efficiency of only 50%.
“The consequences of these attacks are repercussions that can affect any Ukrainian,” said Health Minister Maxim Stepanov. “We are talking about an attempt to disrupt the vaccination campaign in Ukraine.”
Ukraine received its first shipment of vaccines, 500,000 doses of AstraZeneca, in late February. But only about 19,000 people have been vaccinated since then.
During the same period, about 10,000 new infections were reported daily. In total, the country of 41 million recorded 1.4 million infections and more than 28,000 deaths.
Speaking in parliament, Alexander Kornienko, a leading member of the People’s Servant faction of President Volodymyr Len lelensky, said that medical institutions had to destroy large doses of the vaccine, which could be stored only a few hours after opening the vial. did not show up.
“Now they have to destroy the coveted vaccine because they do not have time to give it to people,” said Kornienko.
Ze Elensky, who became infected with the virus in November, tried to encourage the vaccine by shooting himself in public.
“The vaccine will allow us to live again without restrictions,” Ze Zelensky said. “I believe this vaccine is of good quality, it is one of the best in the world.”
But his actions seemed to have little effect.
The country has prescribed 14,000 doses of its first vaccine to the military, especially those fighting Russian-backed separatists fighting in the east. But so far only 1,030 troops have been vaccinated.
In the front-line town of Krasnohorivka, soldiers were widely denied vaccinations.
“I do not believe in the epidemic, I do not think it is a serious disease,” said 25-year-old soldier Serhi Kochuk. “I am healthy, but the vaccine can cause illness. “You can get sick because of this vaccine.”
Volodymyr Paniotto, head of the Kiev Institute of Sociology, told The Associated Press that the recent decline in the popularity of the Leninsky government had contributed to vaccine resistance.
“The over-critical attitude of the Ukrainians towards the authorities prevailed over the struggle of politicians, the information war, which led to mass distrust in the society,” he said.
Ukrainians have been skeptical of any vaccine since Soviet times. In 2019, the country had the largest measles outbreak in Europe due to the refusal of the measles vaccine to become widely available.
“For the last 20 years, Ukraine has been among the European countries that are most opposed to vaccines as such,” said Vadim Denisenko, an analyst at the Institute for the Future of Ukraine.
The United Nations Program Acceleration says the country is suffering from “vaccine misinformation” and has called on the government to step up its fight.
“Conspiracy theories, rumors and malicious misinformation can quickly become viral on social media, especially when there is a low level of public trust in state institutions,” it said.
This story was facilitated by Mstislav Chernov in the Ukrainian city of Selyedov and Heinz in Moscow.
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