Mandatory vaccination for Russian worker


Eastern Europe


Russian people stand in line waiting to receive an injection of Russia's Sputnik V Gam-COVID-Vac vaccine against the coronavirus COVID-19 at the vaccination point at the State Department Store GUM in Moscow. photo EPA, Sergei Ilnitsky

Russian workers who refuse Covid-19 vaccinations in areas where they are compulsory could be forced to take unpaid leave, warns Labour Minister Anton Kotyakov.

Following Moscow, several regions have introduced compulsory vaccination against Covid-19, the Russian daily Komsomolskaya Pravda reports.

The authorities order businesses and institutions involved in retail, education, health care, public transportation, and other industries that serve many people to ensure that at least 60 per cent of their staff are fully vaccinated.

According to Kotyakov, the suspension from work is introduced while the decree on compulsory vaccination is in force in the region. In this case, the employee is deprived of his salary for the entire period.

According to press agency AP, officials in the Moscow region set a mid-August deadline for the threshold of 60 per cent to be reached. Other authorities did not set a deadline but said that individuals who refuse to get vaccinated without a valid medical reason would be suspended from work until they got their shots.

Emergency hospitals

Moscow has recently seen a significant increase in the number of corona infections. On June 14th, the Russian capital reported 7704 new cases of the coronavirus. The last time the infection rates were this high was on December 24th. These high rates of infection increase the pressure on hospitals. The Mayor of Moscow, Sergey Sobyanin, already announced new measures last weekend. One of the measures was the introduction of a ‘non-working week’ in Moscow.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Moscow's Mayor Sergei Sobyanin visit the Moscow information center for monitoring the coronavirus situation, in Moscow. photo EPA, Michael Klimentyev

Sobyanin also recently announced that emergency hospitals would be opened to treat all patients. Meanwhile, the vaccination rate in the country of approximately 144 million inhabitants remains relatively low. Out of the 146 million Russians, only 19,5 million have been vaccinated with at least one dose, writes The Moscow Times.

Russia started vaccinating against the coronavirus in December, but right now, only 13 per cent of the population has had at least one shot. In Moscow, only 1.5 million of the city’s roughly 12 million people have been fully vaccinated.

President Vladimir Putin has called on people to get the vaccine. According to the Kremlin, he has already been vaccinated with a Russian vaccine. Polls show, however, that about half of Russians do not intend to get vaccinated.

However, according to digital strategist and former editor-in-chief of TV-Rain Ilya Klishin, Putin’s supporters are among the ones who do not want to get vaccinated. “These are the older Russians, generally less educated, who travel abroad only rarely, if at all”, writes the digital strategist in an op-ed in The Moscow Times.

According to Klishin, the people who went out and got the vaccine are young and educated. Klishin thinks it is ironic that the segment of the population that stands most in opposition to Putin is the one that most eagerly sought out the vaccine. “These educated, economically independent and globally-minded youth are also the least enamoured with authoritarianism.”

Putin spoke out last month against compulsory vaccination. He called that “impractical and impossible”. Mayor Sobyanin, however, thinks otherwise. He says that people should know for themselves whether they are vaccinated, but only if they stay at home. “When you work for an organization that serves a huge number of people, it’s certainly not a personal choice, no matter what protective gear you wear.”



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