Vera Stepanova waits nervously at a Moscow clinic for her turn to be vaccinated with Russia's Sputnik V jab.
The 73-year-old spent a sleepless night in anticipation and says she has no doubts about taking the vaccine.
"I'm so afraid of this disease. We have to protect ourselves," the retired school principal says, her face covered by a surgical mask. "I waited for my turn and I came with pleasure, hoping that everything will be all right."
Stepanova was among a group of older Russians receiving the vaccine this week as Moscow launched a campaign to inoculate residents aged over 60.
For many the vaccination comes as a relief, a chance to leave their homes or see their grandchildren without fear.
"I'm tired of staying at home. I would like to get antibodies faster so that I can go for a walk," says Stepanova's 82-year-old husband Georgy.
But not everyone is lining up for Sputnik V.
Many Russians are deeply sceptical of being vaccinated -- a huge hurdle for the country in a week that also saw officials confirm that its death toll from the virus is more than three times higher than previously reported.
- 'Apprehension, mistrust' -
An Ipsos poll this week showed that only 43 percent of Russians want to be vaccinated, against 69 percent in the United States and 65 percent in Germany.
Other polls in Russia put that figure at only 38 percent.
"It is worrying," infectious disease specialist Irina Shestakova conceded in an interview with the RIA Novosti news agency.
"The countries that win will be those that vaccinate the majority of the population as quickly as possible," she said.
Lev Gudkov, the director of Russia's Levada polling centre, said some of the concern was fuelled by a propaganda drive around Sputnik V, which President Vladimir Putin announced as the world's first officially registered vaccine in August.
The announcement prompted worries that Moscow was rushing to win the race to produce a vaccine, an idea reinforced by its being named after the first satellite launched by the Soviet Union in 1957 at the height of the Cold War.
"This massive campaign is arousing great apprehension and mistrust," Gudkov said.
"People understand that for Vladimir Putin, the vaccine is part of Russia's confrontation with the West."
Scepticism has also been fed by concerns over official coronavirus figures in Russia, where despite huge numbers of cases the official death rate has remained relatively low.
The government has defended its methodology of counting only Covid deaths that are confirmed by autopsies, but a Levada survey in November showed that just 27 percent of Russians had faith in the official math.
- 'No alternative' to vaccine -
A count of excess deaths so far in 2020 released this week by state statistics agency Rosstat showed more than 186,000 people had died as a result of the virus.
That is three times the fatality count of 57,019 on the official daily tally and places Russia third on the world ranking of deaths from Covid.
As a second wave of infections -- one that shows no sign of slowing -- pummels Russia, the authorities have not reimposed the kind of strict lockdown seen here last winter or in effect in parts of Europe.
Instead, they are redoubling efforts to get sceptical citizens to clinics, with Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin saying this week that vaccinations are the only way forward.
"You have to get vaccinated. There is no alternative," he said.
The numbers show the end is not yet in sight. In a city of more than 12 million, just 50,000 people in Moscow have so far received Sputnik V and only 70,000 are registered to be vaccinated.
At the Moscow clinic with the Stepanovs, fellow retiree Alla Kolosova says she for one believes in her government's vaccine.
"I'm a bit in the old Soviet fashion, so I'm used to trusting our medicine," the 74-year-old says. "I had no doubts about whether or not to get vaccinated."