World Over 60% of Russians don't want Sputnik V vaccine, see coronavirus as biological weapon: Reuters poll
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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Nearly two thirds of Russians are not willing to receive Russia's Sputnik V vaccine, and about the same number believe the new coronavirus was created artificially as a biological weapon, an independent pollster said on Monday.
The Levada Center said a poll it conducted last month showed that 62% of people did not want to get Russia's domestically produced vaccine, and that the highest level of reluctance was identified among 18 to 24-year-olds.
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Safe Work Australia said while it's unlikely companies will be forced to ask customers for proof of vaccination under current work health and safety laws, they are free to do so if they please. The safety regulator recommended that businesses - including cafes, restaurants and bars - consider taking further precautionary action once the vaccine is administered.
Most respondents cited side effects -- which can include fever and fatigue -- as the main reason for not wanting to get vaccinated.
The poll, which sampled 1,601 people in 50 regions, also found that 64% of people thought the new coronavirus was created as a biological weapon.
The origin of COVID-19 has been highly politicised, but the majority of virologists and infectious disease experts say it is most likely to have evolved naturally.
A World Health Organization (WHO) mission to China said last month that it was not looking further into whether the virus escaped from a lab, which it considered highly unlikely.
The mission has said its main hypotheses are that the virus originated in a bat, although there are several possible scenarios for how it passed to humans, possibly first by infecting another species of animal.
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Black and brown Los Angeles, California, residents—who are most likely to die from the coronavirus—are being vaccinated at low rates despite efforts to reach them.Veronica Sance was irate. For days, she'd been monitoring the sidewalk in front of a prime South Los Angeles COVID-19 vaccination site, Kedren Community Health Center. And she did not like what she was seeing.
The belief that the virus was created as a biological weapon is predominant in Russians aged 40-54, with 71% of them holding that view, the poll found. Only 23% think the virus emerged naturally.
Russia, which has recorded nearly 4.3 million coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, has approved three vaccines against COVID-19.
The country of around 145 million people launched a mass vaccination campaign with Sputnik V in December. On Feb. 10, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said that more than two million Russians have been vaccinated with at least the first dose of Sputnik V.
(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber and Tom Balmforth in Moscow; additional reporting by Kate Kelland in London; Editing by Ed Osmond)
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