Russia spread anti-vax lies in Ukraine. Will it cause a COVID crisis for Europe?

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Russia spread anti-vax lies in Ukraine. Will it cause a COVID crisis for Europe?

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This is a news story from the Los Angeles Times by Melissa Healy and Emily Baumgaertner. The authors claim that even prior to Russia's invasion of Ukraine that Russia has been working to undermine the confidence of Western vaccines. It says that these messages were encouraged by President Vladimir Putin and shown on Russian TV and social media. In Ukraine, only 35% of residents are fully vaccinated, some of the lowest in all of Europe. This makes the refugee crisis in Ukraine more dire, as people needing to leave will risk spreading COVID more places. The authors assert that with the low vaccination rates of Ukrainian refugees that it will cause another surge in COVID cases throughout Europe. The CDC has advised countries accepting refugees to offer them the vaccine upon entry. This article details that this is not the only vaccine that Ukrainians have not accepted as much compared to the rest of Europe. In 2021, only 53% of Ukrainian babies were vaccinated against polio. That number has now risen to 76% of infants being immunized against polio. Though, the likelihood of these diseases spreading as far as COVID are fairly low. The vaccine hesitancy, the authors say, is rooted in deep distrust of the government. In December 2020, only 14% of Ukrainians reported having trust in their government in a poll.

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Arizona State University

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