Russian COVID vaccine: Vaccine approved a year ago why are deaths peaking now?

Russia has a dreadful vaccine hesitancy problem. The Russian COVID vaccine (Sputnik-V) was authorised in August 2020, and deployed in December. But nine months later, just 18% of Russians are estimated to be fully vaccinated.

The country’s official death toll is over 160,000 – but the real number may be three times as high.

The official statistics say 164,000 Russians have died from COVID-19 but, with excess deaths standing at 531,000 since the pandemic began, experts analyzing excess mortality data estimate the true death toll could be triple the official count.