The Vaccine Hesitancy Behind Filled Hospitals in Eastern Europe

In Ukraine, Russia, and other parts of Eastern Europe, COVID-19 vaccines are plentiful—but confidence is not, the AP reports.
 
Even medical workers are hesitant to get vaccinated in parts of Ukraine; 30% of the employees at a hospital in Biliaivka, near Odesa, have shunned the shots, according to the head of surgery.

  • His ward is now treating only coronavirus patients, with nearly all 52 beds filled, drugs and oxygen in short supply, and hospital personnel quitting their jobs.

  • Just 16% of Ukraine’s adults are fully vaccinated—Europe’s second-worst coverage after Armenia’s ~7% vaccinated population.

 
Sources of skepticism: Social media, distrust in authorities, and religious beliefs. “Some Orthodox priests have openly and aggressively urged people not to get vaccinated, and social networks have been filled with the most absurd rumors,” says Olha Kobevko, a doctor in Chernivtsi.
 
Officials are mandating vaccines for teachers, government employees and other workers, and requiring vaccine proof for public transit—spurring a booming black market for counterfeit certificates.
 
Russia, meanwhile—with ~32% of the population vaccinated, and 3 out of 4 of the rest reporting a refusal to get the shots—is attempting a softer approach, The Moscow Times reports, relaunching its vaccine campaign with a milder tone and promise of post-pandemic pleasures.


Related: 

Russia to relaunch troubled vaccination ad campaign - report – Reuters

'They Don't Believe COVID Exists': Ukraine Battles New Wave Of Virus, Public Misinformation – Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty (video)

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