'If the situation in Tatarstan deteriorates — we do not rule out stringent measures'
Tatarstan has discussed new restrictions, but is not introducing them so far
Currently, there are no prerequisites for the introduction of restrictive measures in Tatarstan — but there are risks that the coronavirus epidemic situation may worsen. This was told to journalists by the head of the Department of Rospotrebnadzor for Tatarstan, Marina Patyashina, on 18 June. Today, the situation is assessed as stable: 30-35 cases of coronavirus are still detected daily, the growth rate is 0,1%.
“But given that there are signals and there are regions where there is growth — today there are 26 such regions, there are risks to the deterioration of the situation in Tatarstan due to cases brought to the region," Patyashina stated.
According to Patyashina, there are two tools to protect against coronavirus: vaccination and compliance with preventive measures. As for vaccination — today 24,4% of the plan, or 15% of the adult population, have been vaccinated. As for compliance with the restrictions, Patyashina notes that the organisations of Tatarstan have “loosened up” and there have become more violations. If during the period of strict restrictions, violators were about 10% of all checked objects, now about 20% of the checked objects violate anti-covid measures.
“If we observe the deterioration of the situation and have a low rate of vaccination, we do not rule out the introduction of some tough preventive measures, if we have a reason for this. We do not see any grounds so far," Patyashina said.
The speaker did not name specific options for restrictions, but later added: the option with mandatory vaccination according to the Moscow example has been at least discussed. “As of today, we do not see any grounds. But we do not exclude mandatory vaccination, if the rate of vaccination is low and there are risks with cases brought to the region," the head of Rospotrebnadzor for the Republic of Tatarstan added.
“We see no reason to tighten the restrictive measures so far, the existing restrictive measures are adequate," said Marina Patyashina. “We would not like to go into restrictive measures, for today our sacred duty is to convince everyone to get vaccinated so that this story ends.
“Each of the patients regrets that they had not got vaccinated”
Vladimir Zhavoronkov, the deputy minister of healthcare of Tatarstan, head of the Kazan Healthcare Department, was particularly emotional when he urged people to get vaccinated.
“I often talk to people who have seriously ill relatives with a coronavirus infection. Each of the patients regrets that they had not got vaccinated. Everyone says, 'If I knew, I would definitely get vaccinated, one hundred percent.' When you start asking why they didn't do it, they answer: 'I thought it would pass me by, I thought it wasn't about me.' And then — a bitter regret that one time at a metro exit did not have a shot," said Zhavoronkov.
However, one of the journalists reminded that some people are still not completely sure about the vaccine and this uncertainty is fuelled by media reports. Among the latest — the statement of the developer of EpiVacCorona that after 9 months half of the volunteers did not find antibodies, as well as the investigation of Novaya Gazeta about this vaccine.
“Many people say: we are waiting for when the vaccine is definitely effective, when there will be no such articles," the journalist began.
“Would you tell when will this happen?" Zhavoronkov retorted.
“I don't know.”
“Ok, I accept, this position is 'we are waiting'. But then what would make you vaccinate, what would have to happen for these people to get vaccinated? When will they say, 'That's it, it's time'?"
“When the articles such as in Novaya Gazeta will stop appearing...”
“Do I understand you correctly that the opinion of a journalist with a reference to a source — not to the statements of developers, not to official clinical studies — without detracting from the authority of this source, is paramount in terms of whether to risk your health or not to risk it?"
“Not paramount, but when the source questions the clinical trials themselves…"
“You misinterpret the material, clinical studies are not questioned," Patyashina joined the argument. “But they do not like the statements of Vector, there are doubts, there are still other vaccines, Sputnik V, CoviVac. People are not getting vaccinated either first, second, or third. And they look for the reason in the articles, interpreting them not quite correctly. If you remember, the effectiveness of vaccination at registration was still about 90%, and this is a completely normal story. It does not protect one hundred per cent, but it leads to easier cases of infection.”
"447,000 people have already been vaccinated [in Tatarstan]," Zhavoronkov continued. “Do you really think that if there were problems with the vaccine… We live in a fairly open society, today there are social networks and all that. There is a story where the potential benefits outweigh the potential negative effects. Let's think, is there a benefit of the vaccine, yes or no?"
“Yes," the journalist noted.
“If I don't get vaccinated, do I have a higher chance of getting infected?" the deputy minister of healthcare continued to ask questions.
“If the chance of getting infected is higher, then the chance of getting complications is higher for me?"
“Of course, yes.”
“On one side of the scale is Novaya Gazeta with that “friends, look, there's something wrong”, on the other — the option to get complications, infect all your relatives, and so on. Let each of us think about it: 'I'm waiting for what, when Novaya Gazeta says, sorry, I made a mistake, everything is fine there?' Or do I want to protect my relatives and myself as much as possible? Or I want to see how it will develop further and risk — I will get sick, I will not get sick? Look at what is happening in Moscow. Do you realise that this whole story is quite likely to reach us? Why bringing it to this?" Zhavoronkov was indignant.
Number of new strains in Tatarstan is growing
The number of new coronavirus strains is growing in Tatarstan. If a few days ago Minister of Health of Tatarstan Marat Sadykov spoke about 38 strains, now they are 44, however, there is no notorious India one among them.
“Forty-four mutated strains, UK strains. Based on the tests that we take from people undergoing treatment both in the hospital and at home, we do not see a change in the clinical picture in those who have identified mutated strains," Patyashina said.
She noted that today vaccination against mutated strains is also effective. “Mutations concern those parts of the virus that were not used in the production of the vaccine. Therefore, today we need to focus not on the severity or on something else, we just need to get vaccinated," the head of Rospotrebnadzor for the Republic of Tatarstan added.