Photo from UNIAN

Amid a "real war" for vaccines observed internationally, Ukraine should start producing its own vaccine for COVID-19, says Health Minister Maksym Stepanov.

"Today, as a real war for vaccines is ongoing in the world, as governments are imposing bans on the exports of vaccine batches already contracted and paid for, there is only one way out – to start producing our own jabs," the minister wrote in a Facebook post.

Read alsoAdditional doses of Pfizer vaccine to be allocated for UkraineIn order to produce own vaccine, Stepanov believes, it is necessary to amend the legislation and prioritize Ukrainian pharmaceutical manufacturers in government procurement orders.

"They are ready to invest in this, but they need guarantees that the government will be purchasing from them because otherwise they won't be able to compete in price with large pharmaceutical manufacturers. Indeed, our vaccine may be more expensive, but I believe that we must go this way because this is a matter of national security," he said.

Background

In December 2020, Stepanov said Ukraine was restoring its own vaccine production, which had been destroyed over the past 29 years.

Production capacities have been selected where the vaccine for COVID-19 could be produced, Stepanov said.

Foreign vaccines for Ukraine

  • The Ministry of Health for use in Ukraine has registered vaccines produced by Pfizer, CoviShield by Oxford/AstraZeneca, and CoronaVac produced by a Chinese company Sinovac Biotech.
  • On February 24, an inoculation campaign was launched in Ukraine with the CoviShield (AstraZeneca) vaccine, produced under license in India by the Serum Institute.
  • On March 25, the first batch of Chinese-made CoronaVac vaccines in the amount of 215,000 doses arrived in Ukraine. The vaccine must undergo lab control that will last 10 days, after which a state company will deliver across regions.
  • The Ministry of Health also announced that by late March or early April, within the framework of the COVAX facility, Ukraine will have received a batch of 570,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and by the end of May – another 1.1-1.2 million vaccines produced by the company. In addition, Ukraine will also receive Pfizer vaccines.
  • The supply is also expected of the contracted vaccine by the American company Novavax in the amount of 10 million doses, as well as an Indian drug by Bharat Biotech.
  • Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Ukraine had signed preliminary agreements on the supply of coronavirus vaccines with six global manufacturers.