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Dec 27, 2020
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Vaccination against COVID-19 was included in the National Vaccination Schedule. Will it become mandatory?

The National Vaccination Schedule is a document approved by the Ministry of Health that defines the timing and types of vaccinations. It ensures the most rational use of vaccines, including allowing manufacturers to plan the timing and volume of drugs. The vaccination calendar provides for two types of vaccination: preventive and according to epidemic indications.

Preventive vaccinations provide immunization against common infections widespread in the human population: measles, rubella, mumps, chickenpox, diphtheria, influenza, tuberculosis, hepatitis B, tetanus, etc.

Immunization for epidemic indications is carried out when there is a threat of various epidemics and outbreaks of zoonotic infections, including for risk groups. The most famous example is seasonal tick-borne encephalitis vaccination. Note that the Ministry of Health has classified vaccinations against coronavirus as vaccination for epidemic indications.

What are the advantages of this?

The main advantage of adding a certain type of vaccination to the National Vaccination Schedule is the government guarantee that it will be free. According to the law “On immunization of infectious diseases”, in this case the costs are covered by the compulsory health insurance system. To receive a vaccine, it is enough to present a passport and a compulsory medical insurance policy at the nearest vaccination center.

Doctor of Clinical Pharmacology at the Chekhov Regional Hospital, Ph.D. Andrei Kondrakhin clarified that the order of the Ministry of Health does not indicate the names of drugs that will be used for vaccination.

“Since we have now registered two Russian vaccines and several more are in development, they will be included in the vaccination schedule separately,” the expert told MedPortal.

Whether vaccines from foreign manufacturers will be included in the vaccination schedule over time is still unknown. It can be assumed that the mechanism for providing vaccines against COVID-19 will be the same as for immunization against influenza: it will be possible to vaccinate with a Russian drug free of charge in the nearest clinic, and a foreign one at its own expense.

The Law “On Immunization of Infectious Diseases” also guarantees citizens:

  • medical examination and, if necessary, medical examination before vaccination;
  • getting medical help in case of complications;
  • social support in the event of serious post-vaccination complications;
  • refusal of vaccinations.

That is, you can refuse vaccination?

Yes, any Russian can write a voluntary refusal to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Andrei Kondrakhin recalled that the law also stipulates another side of the issue: the lack of vaccinations may entail some restrictions.

“For example, during an epidemic, management can send an employee to a remote location if his presence at the workplace carries a high risk of infection and further spread of infection. There may be restrictions on visiting theaters, museums and other public places, ”the expert said.

A person who has refused vaccination may also be denied a job at an educational or medical institution if there is a threat of an epidemic.

There is one more legislative nuance: a ban on entry to countries in which a stay requires specific vaccinations. For example, some countries in Africa can only be entered after being vaccinated against yellow fever. Whether the COVID-19 vaccination certificate will be an entrance ticket to foreign countries is still an open question.

What does the vaccination priority level mean?

The Ministry of Health not only included coronavirus vaccination in the National Vaccination Schedule, but also defined priority levels for vaccination:

  • the first level – medical workers, teachers, social workers, MFC employees and people with chronic diseases;
  • the second level – employees of transport organizations and energy, law enforcement officers, border guards, military personnel, volunteers, service workers and people working on a rotational basis;
  • the third level – civil servants, college and university students over 18 years of age and conscripts.

“The vaccination calendar implies that people at risk should receive the vaccine first. Since there are objectively many of them, the state decides in what order they will be vaccinated, and of course, medical workers and teachers are the first to be immunized. Then everyone else. Determination of the priority level is also necessary so that there is no crowding at the vaccination points. For example, the Sputnik V vaccine needs to be thawed, so precise planning of the vaccination session is required, “said Andrey Kondrakhin.


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