Chisinau authorities put citizens’ lives at risk by refusing the Russian vaccine Sputnik V, writes kp.md, adding that the decision was in fact a geopolitical one and was made out of hostility towards Russia. In this way, the citizens of the Republic of Moldova would be engaged, against their will, in a new Cold War with Russia.
NEWS: "Authorities are seriously endangering the health of citizens by refusing to use the Russian Sputnik-V vaccine. Unfortunately, Moldovan citizens have been deprived of the right to choose the Russian Sputnik vaccine, which will not be used in state institutions, even if it has been authorized by the Medicines Agency. Citizens who want to be vaccinated with this jab will only be able to do so in private clinics if it is delivered there, the coordinator of the National Vaccination Communication Group Ninel Revenco stated. She pointed out that currently three WHO-approved vaccines can be used in health centers: Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca. "If Sputnik is approved and reaches us through the COVAX platform or in the form of humanitarian aid, why not accept it?", she said.
Only the vaccines authorized by the European Medicines Agency, the US Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization will be administered in the Republic of Moldova. But that means war! Cold war. It’s a war waged heroically by the Moldovan authorities against Russia. First, they banned the retransmission of Russian channels. Now it’s about the Sputnik-V vaccine. Various reasons are invented: WHO authorization or ratification of the European Convention on Transfrontier Television, they even involved the US… Even if the vaccine is registered by the WHO, rest assured, they will find other reasons to prevent it from reaching Moldova. The packaging, color or size of the needle are not compliant…Citizens’ health doesn’t matter! What is important is geopolitics!”.
NARRATIVES: 1. The health of Moldovan citizens is at risk because they are not vaccinated with Sputnik-V. 2. The Republic of Moldova / the West is waging a cold war against Russia; The Russian vaccine is being sabotaged by the new administration in Chisinau. 3. The new administration (Maia Sandu) does not care about citizens’ health. 4. Moldovan citizens are sacrificed in the geopolitical war against Russia.
BACKGROUND: On March 2, 2021, the vaccination campaign against Covid-19 started in the Republic of Moldova, thanks to a donation by the Romanian Government, with the support of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. The first batch of 21,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines arrived in the Republic of Moldova on February 27, 2021. Access to the Covid vaccine is one of President Maia Sandu's stated priorities. This topic was discussed at all the meetings she’s had with high-level European dignitaries. Thus, the delivery of the first tranche of vaccines was possible following the visit of Romanian President Klaus Iohannis to Chisinau in December last year, shortly after Maia Sandu took office. The batch is part of a donation of 200 thousand doses of vaccine promised by Romania to the Republic of Moldova. On March 4, another 14,400 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in the Republic of Moldova through the COVAX platform, and another 24,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine will follow, by the end of March.
On February 26, 2021, the Agency for Medicines and Medical Devices decided to conditionally authorize the vaccines included by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the Emergency Use Listing (EUL): Pfizer / BioNTech and AstraZeneca, but also the Gam -COVID-Vac, as Sputnik V is officially called.
Sputnik was authorized despite the fact that the competent authorities had previously stated that the vaccine authorization mechanism would be based on their authorization by the EMA, FDA and other international agencies or with a WHO pre-qualification / certification status, as stipulated in the National Immunization Plan.
The announcement regarding the authorization of the Sputnik vaccine by the state agency was made by the former pro-Russian president, Igor Dodon, a few hours before the institution made the formal decision, which suggests that the institution may have been influenced by him.
In fact, one of Maia Sandu’s advisers, Ala Nemerenco, a former Minister of Health, as well as former Prime Minister Ion Sturza claim that the Sputnik V authorization was issued so that the vaccine could be marketed in the Republic of Moldova.
Igor Dodod and the PSRM affiliated press have been intensely promoting Sputnik V since the Russian Federation announced its development. Last summer, for example, Dodon said he had asked Russian partners to deliver the vaccine to Moldova as well, and on the eve of the fall election campaign he even said he would be the first to be vaccinated with Sputnik.
On March 1, the Speaker of Parliament, Zinaida Greceanii (PSRM), who had just been to Moscow, summoned the Government and called for the urgent identification of a possibility to purchase a batch of 1 million doses of vaccine.
Against the background of the start of the immunization campaign with vaccines donated by Romania / European Union / COVAX, Igor Dodon and PSRM are trying to repair their political image and at the same time promote the idea that the Russian vaccine will save the Republic of Moldova from the pandemic.
It is also worth noting that in the Republic of Moldova, as in other countries targeted by the Russian information campaign, there are narratives used to fuel the idea that Sputnik V is effective and safe and the vaccines approved on the European market are in fact no good, and on the other hand that the Russian vaccine is the most effective and safest.
In the Republic of Moldova, doctors from the Gagauz region are also involved in this game, refusing vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine. The three hospitals in the region have not started the vaccination process.At the same time, the Russian press and the PSRM affiliates are carrying out a disinformation campaign about the side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine claiming that doctors don’t want to be vaccinated with this serum and are waiting for the Russian one.
OBJECTIVE: The Russian Federation has engaged in a vaccine competition, announcing it was the first country to develop an anti-Covid solution, although the vaccine had not passed all stages of testing. The discourse promotes the idea that Russia is a force in the scientific field and is able to help others too. At the same time, an attempt is being made to instill the idea that the citizens of the Republic of Moldova are being dragged by the new presidential administration into a new Cold War against Russia.
WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: The fact that the Sputnik vaccine was approved without fulfilling the conditions initially stipulated by the line authorities themselves shows not only that there is no plan to block it but, on the contrary, the product is favored. In fact, the Health Secretary of State Tatiana Zatîc says that currently, the National Advisory Committee of Experts on Immunization recommends the Republic of Moldova to use other types of vaccines, authorized in their country of origin, but which are only in the process of evaluation by the WHO, including the Sputnik V vaccine. “We are in a serious situation from an epidemiological point of view, with the number of infected people on the rise. The current situation requires access to both effective and accessible vaccines. In this stage, it’s important to ensure the presence in the country of all types of vaccine ", Tatiana Zatîc stated.
Although KP, which constantly opposes President Maia Sandu and the pro-European forces, suggests that these are the authorities that allegedly block Sputnik, governance in the Republic of Moldova is still the job of the resigning PSRM Cabinet. Moreover, former President Igor Dodon has promised that the Russian Federation will donate vaccines, but so far these promises have not materialized.On the other hand, there is a financial interest in bringing the Russian vaccine to the Republic of Moldova, so that it can be sold in private clinics. The Medicines Agency announced on February 16 that it had received two files submitted by companies concerning the authorization of the Russian vaccine. Interim Prime Minister Aureliu Ciocoi confirmed that a private company had requested the approval of Sputnik-V, in order to have it marketed the Republic of Moldova.
A Parliament communique also announced that the resources needed to purchase a batch of about 1 million doses of vaccine had been identified, and procedures for their procurement would begin as soon as possible.It should be noted, in this context, that the 2021 budget, drawn up by the Socialist government and approved by PSRM – Shor, contested by the opposition, has no distinct chapter on vaccine procurement, although the document was drafted in a pandemic year.
According to the National Immunization Plan, the Republic of Moldova will receive vaccines from donations, through the COVAX platform, for 20% of the population. Additionally, it will request doses for another 30% of the population, via COVAX. At the same time, it will ask for donations from the EU and other states. And in case of need, it will additionally procure the necessary doses from the available sources of the state budget, the government emergency funds, the mandatory insurance funds, as well as through bilateral agreements with producers and international partners.
As to the statement according to which the retransmission of Russian channels has been banned, this is disinformation. No Russian station was stopped from retransmitting in the Republic of Moldova; on the contrary, in December 2020, by the vote of the Socialists and the deputies of the Shor group, a legislative provision was annulled that restricted the broadcasting of informative, analytical, military programs from countries that had not ratified the European Convention on Transfrontier Television, and such programs from Russia (which voted but did not ratify the document) returned to being broadcast on the territory of the Republic of Moldova. Anyway, the so-called anti-propaganda law was initiated and supported by the Plahotniuc regime in 2017, with which Maia Sandu was in opposition but which collaborated with President Igor Dodon.