«Trust in Western vaccines against COVID-19 is very low in Latvia» - Victor Gushchin

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The head of the Russian-speaking community in Latvia talks about trust in Western vaccines against COVID-19

Recently, the public opinion research agency SKDS asked residents of Latvia about their attitude to vaccines against coronavirus infection. The result for the Baltic country was stunning: 44% indicated that they would prefer to be vaccinated by the Russian «Sputnik V».

Rossotrudnichestvo asked Victor Gushchin, director of the Baltic Center for Historical and Socio-Political Studies, coordinator of the Council of Public Organizations of Latvia, to comment on this information.

– In your opinion, who is included in these 44 percent – only the Russian-speaking population?

- Not only it. A significant part of the population – both Russians and Latvians - would like to be vaccinated only with Sputnik V. This is what people tell and write in social networks.

My mother is Latvian, and she would also like to be vaccinated with Sputnik V. The older generation of Latvians, who were educated in the Soviet Union, have a more loyal attitude to modern Russia. The same applies to those who are currently engaged in medical and biological experiments in the scientific field in Latvia. They are also well aware of Russia’s achievements in this area.

At the meetings of the Russian-speaking community, we have repeatedly said that we need to write a collective letter to the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Riga with a request to provide assistance in vaccination against COVID-19.

– But here you have to follow all the procedures of the European Union…

– If the European Medicines Agency registers the Russian vaccine and recognizes its permissible use within the European Union, if the Latvian state orders it from Russia, then there will be a real opportunity. Latvia has already purchased approximately 1.1 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine. This is a large number, considering the country’s population - about 1.9 million inhabitants, according to official data.

But in essence it is about trusting Western vaccines. And this trust is at a very low level. A significant part of the Latvian population trusts Russia as the country that produces the anti-Covid drug.

Photo: Gorod.lv (Information and News portal of Daugavpils and Latgale)