Russia -- the first country to release a coronavirus vaccine -- has been offering its candidate Sputnik V for free to its teachers, medical workers and social service employees younger than 61 years in Moscow. However, a lack of trust is hampering the vaccination drive as the country faces a strong onslaught of coronavirus cases along with around 500 deaths a day.
President Vladimir Putin announced in August that it had become the first country in the world to approve a vaccine for coronavirus. However, it had not tested the candidate in a large-scale medical trial. Nevertheless, Putin said that the vaccine worked effectively. Experts believed that this urgency cut through the long-established process for developing safe vaccines.
An independent polling institute the Levada Center found that 59 per cent of the respondents said that they would not get the coronavirus vaccine even if it was free of cost and voluntary.
Moreover, top business executives, governors and editors of Kremlin's RT television network have said that they have received the vaccine but Putin has not, as mentioned in a report in the New York Times. Putin's daughter has, however, received the vaccine.
As per Levada, only 27 per cent of Russians believe in the coronavirus vaccine. Meanwhile, production challenges have marred the vaccination drive. Health minister, Mikhail Murashko, said on Wednesday that 100,000 people have been vaccinated out of the country's population of 140 million.
Polling firm Ipsos found that Russians are more skeptical of the coronavirus vaccine than the public anywhere else. It had polled in 27 countries.
Meanwhile, volunteers who took the vaccine have uploaded their antibody test results and side effects on Facebook and other social media. Volunteers have said that the vaccine appears to help the body form antibodies without any serious side effects.