MOSCOW, June 5. /TASS/. People’s refusal to undergo vaccination against the coronavirus, should an available vaccine be created, may have dire effects and reduce to nothing the success achieved in the struggle against the pandemic, the World Health Organization’s representative to Russia, Melita Vujnovic, told TASS.
"Such a sentiment reflects common reluctance of some people to participate in the vaccination," she said, when asked about the reasons behind the skepticism many people express over the possibility of mass vaccination against the coronavirus.
"Such a refusal in a situation where the vaccine will be easily available is fraught with the risk of reversing the progress that has been achieved in the struggle against the diseases that the vaccines prevent," Vujnovic said.
She stressed that inoculation was one of the most effective and safest means of disease prevention. "Currently it helps prevent 2-3 million deaths a year. If used globally, vaccination might help save 1.5 million more lives," she said. In the meantime, some negative trends are observed in certain countries where measles cases became more common again after almost complete eradication.
People refuse vaccines for various reasons, such as "carelessness or lack of trust or access to vaccination services," Vujnovic said. Also, she pointed to the risk of putting the responsibility on others: some think they will not have to get vaccinated once everybody around has been through this procedure.
"The reasons may vary in different groups of the population. The corresponding behavioral aspects should be studied," she said.
On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 6,714,300 people have been infected worldwide and more than 393,400 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 3,261,200 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.
To date, a total of 449,834 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 212,680 patients having recovered from the disease. Russia’s latest data indicates 5,528 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.