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Vaccine Shortage Hits Russia: CIS Migrants, Ukrainian Refugees, and Anti-Vaxxers Under Spotlight

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BNN Correspondents
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Vaccine Shortage Hits Russia: CIS Migrants, Ukrainian Refugees, and Anti-Vaxxers Under Spotlight

In a series of startling developments, 12 regions of Russia have reported a shortage of vaccines, a situation that experts attribute primarily to labor migrants from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and refugees from Ukraine who have not been included in Russia's national vaccination schedule. This alarming trend has emerged even as anti-vaxxers continue to exacerbate the situation by refusing vaccinations on various grounds.

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The Unforeseen Consequences of Immigration

Over the first three months of 2023, approximately 1.3 million individuals migrated to Russia from CIS countries, including Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan. However, the inflow of people with Ukrainian passports was significantly lower, with a total of two million entering Russia throughout the year. The majority of these immigrants had not been vaccinated against measles and whooping cough, leading to the spread of these diseases across Russia.

Antivaxxers and Vaccine Shortages

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The situation is further aggravated by the growing number of anti-vaxxers, who refuse vaccinations for a variety of reasons. Experts have linked this issue to low levels of education among such individuals, insufficient training of medical personnel and primary care doctors, and a lack of opportunities to educate the Russian population about the real threats posed by these diseases.

Adding to the crisis, the Ministry of Health of the Komi Republic has announced a lack of measles and whooping cough vaccines, leading to a temporary halt in the vaccination of children.

Looking Ahead

This critical situation underscores the importance of strategic planning in public health, particularly in relation to vaccination schedules and inventory management. As Russia grapples with this crisis, the rest of the world watches, hoping that lessons will be learned and that similar situations can be avoided in the future.

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