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The coronavirus: vaccination and the origin of the virus

More than half of Russians (56%) overall are not afraid of contracting the coronavirus. This is the highest rate since February 2020. At the same time, 1/3 of the respondents are definitely not afraid of contracting the coronavirus, 25% are rather not afraid. 43% are still afraid of getting infected. 20% are definitely afraid, 23% are rather afraid.

 Feb.20Mar.20Apr.20July.20Oct.20Dec.20Feb.21
Definitely yes11202622312920
Rather yes19243127332823
Rather not35292124192125
Definitely not33252025152031
Never heard of it<1
It is difficult to say1223232

Only 28% of respondents do not know anyone who has had the coronavirus. 17% were either sick themselves or someone of those who lived with them did, 22% have close relatives (apart from those living with them) or friends and relatives who were sick. 42% personally know those, who were sick – friends or colleagues. 

The number of those who are ready to get vaccinated by Sputnik-V is decreasing. In December 2020 38% were ready to get a vaccine, 58% were not. In February 2021 30% are ready and 62% are not. At the same time, 4% pointed that they have already got a vaccine.

At the same time, young people want to get vaccinated less than other age groups. Among the respondents aged 18-24 19% are ready to get a vaccine and 75% are not, among those aged 25-39 22% are ready and 73% are not. Among people aged 55 and older those figures are 40% and 49% respectively. 

Among those who are afraid of contracting the coronavirus, 37% are ready to get a vaccine and 52% are not. Among those who are not afraid of getting sick these numbers are 24% and 69% accordingly.

The main reasons for not being vaccinated are the threat of side effects (37%), the need to wait until the end of the test (23%), and the overall lack of meaning (16%). In December 2020, people were less afraid of side effects – 29%, and more waited for the end of the trials – 30%.

Half of the respondents (51%) think that the lifting of the restrictions related to the pandemic is done on time. Almost equal shares (22% and 21%) of people think that it is too early to cancel the restrictions or that it should have been done earlier. 

Recently, in many regions, restrictions associated with coronavirus are gradually being lifted. Do you think this should have been done earlier, is it being done in a timely manner, or is it a premature decision?

Most Russians (64%) think that the coronavirus was artificially produced as a new biological weapon. Only 23% of respondents believe that the virus originated naturally.

The version about the artificial origin of the virus dominates in all age groups, however, it is most popular among older age groups: 71% of people aged 40-54 and 65% of people aged 55 and older think so. The respondents aged 18-24 more believe that the virus originated naturally – 34%.

Speaking of groups of respondents for main news sources, the version of the version about the artificial origin is most popular among those who mainly receive news from friends and acquaintances (73%). The version about the natural origin is the most popular among the readers of Telegram channels (34%). For the remaining groups, the indicators are approximately equal to the average for the sample.

This survey was conducted February 18 – 24, 2021, among a representative sample of all Russian urban and rural residents. The sample was comprised of 1601 people aged 18 or older in 137 municipalities of 50 regions of the Russian Federation. The survey was conducted as a personal interview in respondents’ homes. The answer distribution is presented as percentages of the total number of participants along with data from previous surveys.

The statistical error of these studies for a sample of 1600 people (with a probability of 0.95) does not exceed:

3.4% for indicators around 50%

2.9% for indicators around 25%/75%

2.0% for indicators around 10%/90%

1.5% for indicators around 5%/95%

The ANO Levada Center has been included in the registry of non-commercial organizations acting as foreign agents. Read the Director of the Levada Center’s statement of disagreement with this decision here.

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