russian vaccine
© Sputnik / Press service AFK "Sistema"
Just under half (45.6 percent) of surveyed Russians don't want to be vaccinated against coronavirus, regardless of where the vaccine comes from, according to a new study by Moscow's Higher School of Economics (HSE).

The research revealed that just 13.2 percent of those questioned want to get vaccinated as soon as possible, with a further 4.6 percent wishing to wait a few months. Of those who refuse to be immunized, almost a quarter (24.6 percent) still intend to monitor the results of mass vaccination, with another quarter (25 percent) saying they're entirely opposed to all vaccines.

Part of the country's lack of enthusiasm for a vaccine may be explained by the belief that Covid-19 isn't so serious. 43.4 percent of respondents believe that the danger of the epidemic is exaggerated or invented by "interested parties." This is a considerable rise from a similar survey taken in May, which discovered that just a third (32.8 percent) of the country were coronavirus skeptics.

The data revealed that the lowest percentage of non-believers is in Moscow (34.7 percent), with almost one in three Muscovites believing the capital is already "at the beginning of the second wave."

Speaking to Russian daily newspaper RBK, Moscow International Medical Cluster (MIMC) CEO Yaroslav Ashikhin explained that Russians now perceive Covid-19 as "a less dangerous threat."

"Scientists can't yet clearly explain to people why there was no coronavirus explosion after the opening of the borders," he said. "There are also no overcrowded clinics, so skepticism has increased."

On Friday, Sergey Glagolev, an adviser to Russia's minister of health, suggested that vaccination against Covid-19 may soon become one of the requirements for international travel. Russia's domestic vaccine, Sputnik V, is currently undergoing its third phase of clinical trials.