Chat Groups Against Vaccines: Ukrainian Anti-Vaxers Coordinate Activities in Viber Groups

Vitalii Rybak, analyst and journalist at UkraineWorld and Internews Ukraine, analysed the activities of the anti-vaccination movement in Ukraine.

The anti-vaccination movement in Ukraine uses a non-transparent messenger for coordination.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 3 million COVID-19 cases have been registered in Ukraine, and more than 75 thousand Ukrainians have died from the coronavirus. As of November 11, Ukraine is a global COVID-19 hotspot. Each day for the last two weeks, the country recorded an average of 22,085 new COVID-19 cases and an average of 711 coronavirus-related deaths. This means that 51 people per 100,000 in Ukraine are dying from COVID-19 each day.

At the same time, Ukraine’s vaccination campaign has struggled to gain steam. Up to June 2021, less than a million people per month were receiving jabs. Starting in July, the pace of vaccination increased, though only slowly. Only in October, when Ukraine’s government started introducing the so-called “red zone” restrictions for unvaccinated people in many regions, did the pace of vaccination start to really spike, with a twofold increase compared to September.

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