Russia’s daily Covid death toll hits new record amidst reluctance to vaccinate

Russia has recorded a new high number of daily deaths for the second day in a row and has also hit a grim new record in its Covid-19 pandemic.

Today, 28,717 new Covid cases and 984 deaths were reported, marking the second day in a row that the country has recorded a record-high number of daily fatalities.

While on Tuesday, 28,190 new coronavirus cases were reported and 973 new deaths were recorded according to data from the government’s coronavirus taskforce. Russia has recorded over 7.8 million cases of the virus and over 219,000 deaths, in total.

Why this is important

The Health Minister of Russia, Mikhail Murashko brought the attention of the cabinet, in a meeting on Tuesday, to warnings on the public health crisis. He warned that the incidence of Covid in Russia had increased 16% over the past week and in some regions and the growth rate was more than 30%.

Speaking on the hospitalization of covid patients who have not been vaccinated, he stated that Russia has about 255,000 beds for Covid patients, 235,000 of which is occupied by mostly patients who have not been vaccinated and with 11% of Russia’s hospitalized Covid patients in a serious or critical condition.

In his words, “practically all of them are patients who have not been vaccinated”.

Despite the desperate move by Russia to increase vaccination rates in the country such as offering incentives including money, shopping coupons and gift cards, and easy access to facilities such as walk-in immunization center, many members of the public have been reluctant to take up the Covid shot, primarily the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine.

Vaccination rates remain relatively low with only 31% of Russia’s 144 million population fully vaccinated.

This is largely unexpected as Russia was one of the first countries to approve a Covid vaccine, in August 2020, and to roll out the shots.

The major cause of reluctance towards vaccination stemmed from the authorization of the shot before clinical trials had been completed, a move which successfully raised suspicions in the international scientific community with concerns over Sputnik V’s safety and efficacy credentials.

The Sputnik V vaccine, however, has been found to possess 91.6% effectiveness in preventing people from developing Covid.