Harmony deputy: put aside political games and communicate vaccination in Russian language too

Politicians [in Latvia] should put aside their «dirty games» and communicate the importance of Covid-19 vaccination in Russian language in the interest of public health, said member of Saeima Praesidium, Harmony party member Andrejs Klementjevs in an interview to Latvijas Radio.
He said politicians of New Unity and Attīstībai/Par! political parties understand the need to communicate such topics to Russian-speaking members of society, whereas members of the New Conservative Party and National Alliance object to it. Klementjevs’ opposition party Harmony, on the other hand, has talked about that for a long time. Even representatives of the Ministry of Health had previously suggested doing that.
«I’ll be honest: officials of the Ministry of Health had previously proposed organizing a campaign in the native language of people who may not have higher education and who may not understand some of the nuances of Latvian language. This is not about undermining the state language, rather a humane treatment of uninformed people,» explains Klementjevs.
He believes the language barrier is the reason why the information campaign about Covid-19 does not reach one-quarter of the population, which is partly the reason why the situation is so catastrophic. There is no reason to believe that information with an invitation to vaccinate could somehow undermine Latvia’s sovereignty, says the politician.
When asked what Harmony plans to do in the Saeima to make sure the state communicates the importance of Covid-19 vaccination in Russian language, the politician said:
«If the redaction of such a legislative draft is jointly developed, we will try to make it so that it acquires legislative power. I don’t think even the president would try to torpedo such an important issue.»
As it is known, to promote vaccination of Russian-speaking residents in Latvia, it was recommended to adjust language requirements for the duration of the state of emergency. This would help reach out to residents with personalized notifications, as suggested by Latvian National Health Service Vaccination Project Office manager Eva Juhņēviča at a government meeting this Tuesday.
«Currently the law does not allow us to tailor and release informative materials for residents if said materials are not in the state language. We can only produce booklets and posters people have to come and check on their own. We cannot reach out to them with information written in their native language,» explains Minister of Health Daniels Pavļuts.
This topic caused wide discussions during the government meeting. Minister of Transport Tālis Linkaits, Minister of Justice Jānis Bordāns and Minister of Culture Nauris Puntulis objected to such a proposal.
«Let’s not be naive, we can see vaccination percentage in Eastern Europe is the lowest. This includes Latvia. Can we really change the behaviour of this group of our society with this step? I am sceptical,» said the minister of culture.
Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš believes there would be a justified reason for this deviation.
«My proposal is we should use all tools at our disposal,» said the PM. At the same time, he criticized the Vaccination Project Office for an insufficient vaccination promotion activities.
It should be said that the Cabinet of Minister had previously discussed a similar proposal to release vaccination newspaper in Russian language, but even then the government did not approve of that.