Vaccinated versus unvaccinated: who to win

Will society be segregated into vaccinated and unvaccinated and what will this lead to?

Vaccinated versus unvaccinated: who to win
Photo: Maksim Platonov

The situation with the incidence of Covid-19 has sharply worsened in Russia. In some regions of Russia, mandatory vaccination against COVID-19 is being introduced for certain groups of the population. In Moscow, restaurants will be allowed only by QR codes (they are issued either to those who have already been vaccinated, or to those who have been infected with Covid-19 in the last six months, or to those who presents a negative PCR test of no earlier than three days ago). Social networks are full of posts about segregation and restriction of the rights of unvaccinated Russians. Yegor Beroev appeared the other day with a yellow star pinned to the lapel of his jacket, which caused a wave of hate in his address (and quite rightly: by equating mandatory vaccination to the Holocaust, he offended the memory of the victims of the tragedy a lot). The society has once again been divided into supporters of vaccination and anti-vaccinators.

On the air of television of the Public News Service, experts discussed the problem of dividing Russian society into supporters and opponents of vaccination against coronavirus. Anatoly Wasserman, a well-known polymath and publicist, spoke as a supporter of vaccinations and the absence of artificial segregation. Historian Olga Chetverikova, leader of the Immune Response public movement Alexandra Mashkova-Blagikh, and lawyer Stalina Gurevich opposed him. How deeply the anti-vaccination campaign has grown into the minds of fellow citizens — read in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

Wasserman: vaccination divides society into thinking and deluded

Anatoly Wasserman has been vaccinated, but just the other day: before that, he had contraindications for health reasons, as soon as they ended, the publicist received the first dose of the vaccine. He quite directly expresses his point of view: no one divides society by force, no conscious discrimination occurs:

“People themselves, of their own free will, are divided into those who are more important to look for trouble, and those who do not want trouble for themselves and others. In this case, judging by the already accumulated list of long-term consequences of coronavirus infection (affecting, by the way, not so much the lungs as the blood vessels), those who refuse to be vaccinated will have so many health problems that they will physically limit themselves in their abilities and thereby in their rights. Those who do not want to get vaccinated without obvious medical contraindications put at risk, first of all, their physical and mental health. It is clear that this ultimately results in physical limitations of opportunities, which are expressed in a formal restriction of rights. So I don't see any reason to talk about discrimination here in the spirit of a recent very theatrical monologue by actor Egor Beroev. I see here, first of all, the grounds for physiological conclusions, and very sad ones at that.”

And as for the division of rights, political expert Wasserman, who has carefully studied a variety of legislation, refers to international declarations on human rights, which clearly state that these rights can be restricted to protect public health. By the way, there is such a norm in the Russian Constitution.

And Wasserman sees the main problem facing society here and now in an unprecedented massive anti-vaccination campaign:

“So massive that I would not even be surprised at all to learn that there are some specific, quite large and mostly foreign sources of funding for this campaign. Foreign ones are not because I am a supporter of the conspiracy theory, but because there is simply not enough free money in the Russian Federation to finance a campaign of this magnitude. I am afraid that the current division into vaccinated and unvaccinated is another manifestation of the division of society into thinking and those who think “they will not deceive me”, and therefore deceive themselves.”

Olga Chetverikova: there is conspiracy around, WHO falsifies data on the epidemic

Anatoly Wasserman was the only one who spoke about anti-vaccination propaganda. And, in fact, the only supporter of vaccination in this conversation, being in a strong minority, which raises some questions to its organisers. Olga Chetverikova, by the way, performed in her usual role. She began by accusing Dmitry Peskov of extremism (for his statement about the imminent discrimination of unvaccinated citizens), and continued with the typical move for any acute discussion — “grandfathers fought” — this time in the context of that the USSR defeated Nazi Germany, and now we have powerful immunity against fascism. Chetverikova reminds everyone about the Nuremberg Code everyone who speaks about the isolation of unvaccinated “enemies of the people” from society.

Well, then Olga Nikolaevna went through the “golden fund” of the anti-vaccination agenda: there is a malicious WHO blocking reliable scientific information, and falsification of the situation with the coronavirus (it turns out that the virus has not been isolated, the tests are false), and, of course, that the vaccine is actually not a vaccine, but an “experimental genetic apparatus” that is now being massively tested on unsuspecting billions of earthlings. But Chetverikova is sure that “it is already impossible to hide the truth”, so our people will win.

Alexandra Mashkova-Blagikh: lobbyists of pharmaceutical companies are to blame for everything

Alexandra Mashkova-Blagikh from the public movement Immune Response (contrary to the name, it is not for vaccinations, but for their voluntary nature, although no one in the memory of human rights activists has ever chased anti-vaxers with a syringe at the ready) said that Wasserman (not Chetverikova) speaks with propaganda cliches, and shared her opinion: vaccination is imposed on us by pharmaceutical giants that produce the vaccine. Society, in her opinion, is really divided. But not on vaccinated and unvaccinated, but in a completely different way:

“On people who appreciate that their health, rights, freedoms, dignity belong to them, and on those people who have not yet appreciated it. I would not yet divide society into vaccinated and unvaccinated, because among the people who support rights, freedoms, and dignity, there are those who consciously made their choice and have been vaccinated. Today we are talking about freedom, dignity and switching on or off from the process that is imposed on us primarily by pharmaceutical giants. The history of the coronavirus in our country alone and only for three years is a question of 73 billion rubles. Our entire national vaccination calendar costs about 22-23 billion rubles. There is something to fight for.”

Mashkov-Blagikh strongly disagrees with Wasserman's opinion about the anti-vaccination propaganda: she believes that the campaign, on the contrary, is vaccination one and no less massive. However, according to the activist, it has failed:

“Only 10 per cent of the population agreed to be vaccinated during the year, despite that the vaccination could be done almost in a McDonald's toilet. This suggests that people do not trust the drug. And they rightly do not trust it, because it has not passed clinical trials, the data is absolutely closed. People are well aware of the methods by which the vaccine is being pushed, and they react to it. Now we are seeing an attempt to increase this percentage of vaccinated people through fear and completely unacceptable pressure. And people again see this unacceptable game. Accordingly, it is necessary to convince that this campaign is allegedly paid for from abroad. No, it is paid for by the votes of each of those 90 per cent of people who refused to be vaccinated for one reason or another and who protect their rights and freedoms.”

Alexandra Mashkova-Blagikh insists that the resolutions of the regional leaders on mandatory vaccination of certain groups of the population contradict the Constitution, federal laws, the Labour Code (in fact, they do not contradict). She is convinced that the voices of “unvaccinated citizens who are stunned by what is happening” will begin to sound so that in the end “they will block the voices of people who are trying to arrange criminal discrimination in our country'.

“We don't have a database on the consequences of vaccination, but word of mouth exists”

Olga Chetverikova said that the society is divided artificially, that political technology has become engaged in the matter, and confirmed the version of her colleague that big pharma is in charge of everything.

“Vaccination brings huge profits to pharmaceutical companies, unlike the production of medicines. But two factors prevent vaccination. First — it is voluntary. So, in their opinion, it should be made mandatory. The second factor is that if you invent a vaccine for some disease, then the profit will stop going. Therefore, it is necessary to find such a disease so that new strains can be constantly invented, and this will be a constant process. The flu became such a decease. Now there is coronavirus. We were warned that the vaccinated are not protected from the Delta strain, so revaccination will be required. But this is an ongoing process. A new strain is going to appear every month. You can imagine what huge profits will be received by pharmaceutical companies.”

Also the historian, who is so thoroughly versed in epidemiology and virology, wonders why the vaccination campaign is going on, and calls on the people “as a source of power” to control this process:

Olga Chetverikova said that the society is divided artificially, that political technology has become engaged in the matter, and confirmed the version of her colleague that big pharma is in charge of everything. Photo: Maksim Platonov

“We are talking about that an experiment is being conducted on the people. We should say who benefits from mass vaccination. To carry out mass vaccination, it is necessary to intimidate people. We find ourselves in the position of outcasts. It would be fine if we were talking about a minority. But we are in the majority. Ninety percent of the population wants to discriminate, isolate, then there will be segregation and deportation. This is intimidation, an unacceptable method. In conditions of fear, people are easily manipulated. This process must be stopped in the bud.”

But the speaker did not talk about how to deal with numerous deaths, with protection from the coronavirus, and how to stop the epidemic.

Alexandra Mashkova-Blagikh: “My body is my business”

The activist of the Immune Response suddenly used a feminist slogan, which is recognised as a verbal symbol of sexual, and not anti-vaccine immunity at all: she said that her body is her business. And again she referred to the Constitution:

“A medical procedure is a deeply personal matter for everyone. My body is my business. Moreover, if we talk about international documents and declarations, our Constitution, it clearly states that the good of society cannot be higher than the good of an individual. It is impossible to throw an individual into the furnace of some huge beautiful good.”

However, Mashkova-Blagikh consciously or unknowingly keeps silent about that the Constitution provides for the restriction of individual rights if it is necessary to protect the health of other persons: this is clearly stated in the article 55 of the Constitution of Russia.

But lawyer Stalina Gurevich, although he also confidently speaks about the existence of discrimination, raises a really important question about the lack of regulation of the measures introduced in Moscow: what about those who have had a coronavirus, have a high antibody titer, but have not entered the official statistics on the incidence? We know that a huge number of our fellow citizens had the Covid-19 infection unconfirmed by a PCR test. Or vice versa: a person could get sick, get the required QR code and calmly go to restaurants, spreading the infection, because he did not form or ran out of antibodies in a few months — this also happens. Or, for example, what about those who walk around with a push-button phone and, in principle, cannot get a QR code?

So far, these questions remain unanswered.

Meanwhile, aggressive anti-vaccinators (for example, Olga Chetverikova) are sure that after the closure of the public catering for the unvaccinated, they will be turned off the Internet and bank cards, and then completely deported (I wonder where?):

“Citizens saw that, in fact, their rights mean nothing, and we are well aware that after the closure of public catering, hospitals, shops, transport, Internet disconnection, cards will be closed for unvaccinated people… Now the prospects are such that there will be such a tightening of the screws that deportation will begin. Or people will realise themselves as citizens and will begin to defend their rights.”

By Kristina Ivanova, Lyudmila Gubaeva