With Covid-19 vaccination rates still low, Moscow to mass-mobilize 7,000 social workers to encourage elderly to get inoculated

With a large proportion of Moscow’s elderly population still yet to be vaccinated, the Russian capital is deploying an army of social workers to inform the city’s over-60s that they can be inoculated for free.

On Wednesday, the head of Moscow’s Department of Labor and Social Protection, Yevgeny Struzhak, announced that around 7,000 government employers would be visiting the over-60s at home, with the aim of getting them vaccinated against coronavirus.

As well as talking to the elderly, the social workers will hand out information leaflets.

Last week, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Kirill Dmitriev, revealed that 3.5 million people had received both shots of the domestically made Sputnik V vaccine. While this is the most in Europe in absolute terms, it is just 2.4% of the country’s population. This figure is lower than comparable European countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom.

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To bump up these figures, the capital is taking extra measures to get more older citizens vaccinated.

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“Due to their age, elderly citizens are still at risk, and coronavirus is especially dangerous for them,” Struzhak said. “Starting from March 24, social workers will start making door-to-door visits to Muscovites aged over 60. Social workers will tell them how to protect themselves and their loved ones from coronavirus.”

He went on to explain that vaccinations are “by far the most effective way” to keep Covid-19 at bay.

Earlier this month, psychologist Ekaterina Igonina told news outlet Moscow 24 that elderly people are often “lost in the abundance of information that surrounds them,” because there are far more sources than ever before.

The world’s first Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, was produced by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute and registered by Russia last August. Studies published in the British medical journal the Lancet revealed that it has an efficacy of 91.6%.

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