New Mandate Ignites Protests in Ukraine

Kez Zimmerman

The country of Ukraine was divided recently as anti-vaccine protests took place in its capital of Kyiv. The protests were sparked by a passed restriction that requires all government employees, teachers, and other workers to get fully vaccinated by Nov 8. The alternative to vaccination was the suspension of their salaries.  Ukraine has seen record high numbers of COVID-19 infections, with 3 million infections and 69,447 deaths in recent weeks. This led to the push to get more people vaccinated. So far, Ukraine has reported 3,340,407 coronavirus cases and 81,598 deaths. This means there’s an average of 17,022 cases being reported each day. Though Ukrainians can choose between the Moderna, AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Sinovac vaccines, only about 17.1% of the population of 41 million people have been fully vaccinated, making Ukraine Europe’s second lowest vaccination rate, following Armenia. “I don’t want to participate in an experiment on myself, but I am deprived of the right to choose,” said 35-year-old teacher Tamara Ustinova, who is from Mariupol. “The authorities force Ukrainians to get vaccinated, creating unbearable conditions, but the danger of genetic mutations is much greater than the harm from COVID.”
Although police did not intervene in the protests, they have blocked over 40 websites that were said to offer fake vaccination certificates. Authorities have opened upwards of 1,000 criminal cases regarding the distribution of fake certificates. Among these cases are 35 travel agencies and 80 doctors. Parliament passed a law criminalizing the manufacture and use of artificial COVID-19 receipts, saying that offenders charged with the usage or handling of these bogus certificates could serve up to three years in prison or be fined $6.460.