Still, mass vaccination is “extremely slow, even by official data, on the level of the Netherlands, which started vaccinating a month later,” according to a recent report published in Novaya Gazeta, a Moscow-based investigative newspaper. Now, even after one of the world’s leading medical journals described the vaccine as “safe and effective,” Russia is only about 3 percent into its goal of vaccinating over 68 million citizens to reach a level of herd immunity. The Kremlin, it seems, has a long way to go.

For many, the Russian government has brought this setback on itself. “The Kremlin’s propaganda is to blame,” Olga Bychkova, deputy editor-in-chief of the radio station Echo of Moscow, told The Daily Beast. Russian intelligence has been linked to an endless stream of pandemic disinformation in recent months, including using fake social media accounts to spread conspiracy theories claiming that the U.S. military is responsible for creating the virus in the first place. “The same people who invent stories about MH17 and Navalny advertise Sputnik V and fail,” says Bychkova, who herself has had the Sputnik V vaccine…

Some even said they would prefer to take a vaccine that hasn’t been as heavily advertised as Sputnik V—the very act of the Kremlin promoting it has put people off. “I don’t have any desire to receive the geopolitical vaccine. That does not mean that I am against vaccination,” Ilya Azar, a Moscow local deputy, told The Daily Beast. “I will wait for the ‘Vector’—at least it was not so rushed and promoted,” he added, referring to EpiVacCorona, the second vaccine approved by Russia.