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Moscow Offers Pensioners $140 to Get Vaccinated

Only one in three pensioners in Moscow have been vaccinated against the coronavirus. Vyacheslav Prokofyev / TASS

Moscow will pay retirees 10,000 rubles ($140) to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced Wednesday in the latest push to stimulate Russia’s stubbornly slow immunization campaign.

Moscow residents aged 65 and over will be eligible for a cash handout if they complete the two-dose vaccination schedule with one of Russia’s homemade jabs before the end of the year.

Pensioners in the capital were previously offered gift sets, which will remain available, for completing the vaccination course.

“Elderly Muscovites who get re-vaccinated during the specified period will also be eligible” for the cash handout, Sobyanin added.

The latest push to encourage uptake of the vaccine among elderly residents comes as Moscow’s coronavirus response center published a series of alarming figures showing how severely the disease affects elderly patients.

One in nine people over the age of 60 who contract Covid-19 die, authorities said. That share rises to one in three among those who don’t seek early medical assistance.

Only a third of the capital’s pensioners have been vaccinated, it added — lower than Moscow’s overall vaccination rates.

With one of the world’s highest vaccine hesitancy levels, Russia’s vaccination rates have remained stubbornly low at around 30% of the population, despite its homemade Sputnik V vaccine having been widely available for free since last winter. 

Amid a fourth wave which has seen infection numbers approach record highs in recent days, a growing list of Russian regions has reintroduced restrictions and mandatory vaccinations for certain workers.

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