But now it looks like the alarmism is backfiring and preventing the Kremlin from vaccinating its own people. The sale of counterfeit vaccination certificates is currently the most prevalent type of online fraud in Russia, and some are so desperate to dodge the coup that they have allegedly ordered prosthetic weapons to deceive medical staff.
“So far, the craziest anti-vaccine story has been told to me by a makeup artist who made us costumes for our last shoot. She has a workshop, where they make accessories and prosthetics, ”Russian film producer Rosya Skrypnik tweeted last month. “Every week someone tries to order a silicone pad that can be applied to the arm, so that the vaccine is injected into a ‘false shoulder’. “
The producer wrote that initially she thought the makeup artist was joking. But then his colleague showed him “MDs at his workshop, where people donate unlimited amounts of money for a prosthetic arm they could wear for a mandatory vaccination.” When prop masters patiently explain that the doctor would recognize a prop and it only works in movies, anti-vaccines simply offer more money.
TikTok personality Nika Viper helped popularize the crazy idea with her video, demonstrating a mock vaccination with a prosthetic arm. It received nearly 20,000 likes. Some of the comments read, “I would pay any amount of money for this”, “Can I borrow the arm?” “And” This vaccine is dangerous. “
The story of anti-vaccines seeking prosthetic weapons for sale also aired on Russian state television last month. People’s State Television Program 60 minutes broadcast a cartoon demonstrating the use of the false arm during inoculation. Host Evgeny Popov explained that Russian anti-vaccines “invented another method they see as a viable option, designed to trick doctors into getting vaccinated,” adding, “It’s no joke.” Co-host Olga Skabeeva surmised, “Prosthetic arms, fake vaccination certificates, all kinds of things anti-vaccines do to prevent a vaccination. The kinds of things we used to laugh at have become a reality.
Other methods have reportedly been used by desperate Russian anti-vaccines, including getting an excuse from a doctor by faking pregnancy or faking various allergies, paying corrupt doctors and nurses to give a fake injection into a sponge in the body. instead of an arm, using a ridiculous gadget to remove freshly injected vaccine and buying fake vaccination certificates on the black market. “It’s a mass psychosis,” concluded Artem Kiryanov, member of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, referring to the increasingly desperate measures taken by anti-vaccines in his 60 minutes appearance.
A glimpse into Russian state media operations reveals at least part of why Russia has such a low vaccination rate – a paltry 16 percent, compared to over 49 percent in the United States.
Last year Dmitry Kiselyov, the host of a popular state television show Vesti nedeli, devoted a segment to a discussion of the AstraZeneca vaccine. He lamented the “serious side effects” of the vaccine, spoke of bloody medical incidents and called Oxford’s invention a “monkey vaccine,” referring to the fact that unlike Russia’s Sputnik V, AstraZeneca is a chimpanzee adenovirus vector, which means it was made using a modified version of a virus that infects chimpanzees.
“America was counting on the AstraZeneca vaccine,” the notoriously anti-American propagandist said as he stood in front of a screen with two posters. One showed Uncle Sam with the caption, “I want you to take the monkey vaccine” and another showed King Kong forcibly inoculating Ann Darrow, above a text that read, “Don’t worry. no, the monkey vaccine is good. The segment ended with Kiselyov claiming that less Russophobic countries have an advantage: they can use Sputnik V instead of the “monkey vaccine”.
The state television presentations followed a familiar pattern: citing a host of unreliable sources, the hosts announced “horrific scandals,” alleging multiple deaths and devastating side effects suffered by AstraZeneca vaccine recipients. Several news segments bombarded the public with stories about the complications of the jab, from blood clots to multiple deaths. Grim music often accompanied the segments. They even presented a photograph allegedly depicting a corpse lying in the street and attributed the death to an AstraZeneca shot.
The Pfizer vaccine has also been fervently targeted by Russian state media. A video posted by Louisiana-based Brant Griner earlier this year featuring his mother, Angelia Gipson Desselle, shaking violently after receiving the blow from Pfizer, has been broadcast on a loop over Russian airwaves. The press lines were dramatic: “Horrific consequences of US Pfizer vaccine,” “Woman who suffered seizures after taking Pfizer Covid jab being screened for permanent neurological damage, her son told RT. “
Appearing on Russian state television, Griner urged people not to take the jab and claimed he had been contacted by “thousands and thousands” of people, of whom “hundreds” had reported adverse reactions. . “Warned is warned,” Evgeny Popov said grimly on one of the shows, referring to the clip. After being contacted by US news outlets trying to verify his story, Griner removed the clip from his social media pages, but by this point he had already racked up millions of views.
In later videos, he said his mother “didn’t know” that the disease “would go away in a day or two” and asked his son to remove the videos as she was “overwhelmed” by the amount of publicity that was going on. they were receiving. Yet, as recently as this month, Desselle was included in a Fox News segment on adverse vaccine reactions, starring Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson.
Other videos promoted by Russian state media were less dramatic, but their cumulative effect was potentially devastating. Choosing isolated reports of rare side effects around the world, state media created an endless stream of bad vaccine news, including: “13 dead in Norway,” “Miami doctors die 2 weeks after Pfizer’s Covid-19 shot, “” Young doctor left paralyzed after taking Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine in Mexico “and” Teenager dies in sleep after receiving Pfizer COVID-19. “
On July 20, Alexei Naumov of the Russian Council for International Affairs said: “Our fight for our vaccine is a fight for Russia’s global influence… It is a modern day nuclear arms race and we are among the leaders. , which is great. To further discredit the Pfizer jab, Russian public television programs are said to even feature clips of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson questioning the vaccine.
– Russian television commentator.
This is where the whole intrigue lies. Moscow’s brutal approach was explicit and brazen. By undermining the reputation of Western vaccines and presenting individual adverse reactions from around the world, Russian state media have sought to discredit their competitors and promote their own vaccines. Instead, vaccine reluctance in Russia is now at its height, and stories of people using prosthetic limbs for COVID injections and fake vaccine certificates are rife. Russia now has the highest vaccine opposition rate in the world, according to a recent Morning Consult study, with the United States in second place. A July survey by Russia’s Levada-Center showed that the most common reason for refusing vaccination is fear of side effects.
When Russia announced that its health ministry was testing the effectiveness of combining Sputnik V with AstraZeneca, the public response demonstrated how successful the propaganda campaigns have been. Appearing on various Russian TV shows, several guests seemed shocked and criticized the idea, with some saying, “Need a new batch of volunteers with no survival instinct? and “Darwin’s hypothesis will be realized in the reverse order: a man will turn into a monkey.” “
Addressing Russia’s struggle to bring the pandemic under control, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said TASS Tuesday that “the not very fast rate of vaccination is one of the reasons why we have so far not been unable to radically contain the spread of the disease”.
It turns out that fear of other vaccines leads to mistrust of each of them. As a well-known Russian proverb goes: don’t dig a hole for someone else, or you might fall in it yourself.