Prison for anti-vaccine? People who encourage vaccine refusal should be made criminally responsible, Russian official suggests


With Russia’s campaign to vaccinate its citizens against Covid-19 hampered by widespread anti-vaccination sentiment, a local official has proposed to introduce sanctions for those who call on others to refuse to participate.

In a letter seen by RT, the first vice-president of the Civic Chamber of the Leningrad region request Federal Justice Minister Konstantin Chuychenko to introduce criminal liability for disseminating anti-vaxx propaganda, noting that some people are promoting false information about the potential dangers of vaccines.

“I ask you to evaluate the idea of ​​amending the Criminal Code to include the responsibility of those who ask others to refuse vaccination for non-medical reasons”, Vladimir Petrov wrote, also noting that there should be additional punishment for medical professionals who disseminate false and damaging information about vaccination.

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The Leningrad official also called on the minister to create a law targeting those who buy fake vaccination certificates. According to Petrov, these measures will promote a more responsible attitude towards vaccination.

On Monday, a resident of Russia’s Kurgan region was fined 30,000 rubles ($ 400) after posting deliberately false information on the internet about the consequences of Covid-19 vaccinations.

Earlier this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law to toughen sanctions against those who knowingly disseminate false information with serious consequences. Depending on the severity, those convicted could be fined up to two million rubles ($ 27,000) or imprisoned for up to five years.

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In recent months, the Kremlin has strongly pushed vaccination against Covid-19. Speaking on his annual Direct Line phone show, Putin told Russian audiences that “Vaccination is the only way to prevent the spread of the epidemic”, warning that the coronavirus “won’t go anywhere.”

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