Ukraine may count on EU in obtaining COVID-19 vaccine / REUTERS

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has received a letter from heads of the European Union's institutions who assure Ukraine may count on the EU's solidarity in obtaining a COVID-19 vaccine.

"The EU is taking steps to ensure Ukraine's access to vaccines as soon as possible," according to the letter from President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen following the 22nd Ukraine-EU Summit, which took place in Brussels on October 6, 2020, as reported by the president's press service.

The letter addressed to the president outlines the steps taken by the European Union to implement the agreements reached during the summit, as well as a plan for cooperation for the current year.

In particular, the European leaders emphasize the EU is willing to continue supporting Ukraine in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, EUR 190 million was allocated, in particular for the purchase of medical equipment. The first tranche of macro-financial assistance (MFA) worth EUR 600 million was also allocated last year. The EU institutions are ready to cooperate with Ukraine on meeting the criteria for the second MFA tranche.

Read alsoEU eyes scheme to share surplus COVID-19 vaccines with poorer nations – mediaThe two European officials note that a comprehensive revision of the Association Agreement will begin this year. It is planned to deepen sectoral cooperation, in particular in the digital and environmental sectors. The Agreement on the Common Aviation Area is being prepared for signing in the near future. A preliminary EU assessment mission started work in the context of the future Agreement on Assessment of Conformity and Acceptance of Industrial Products.

"The leaders of the EU institutions note Ukraine's progress in implementing internal reforms despite the unfavorable situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The EU is ready for further cooperation, in particular on anticorruption and judicial reform issues. The heads of the European institutions praise the urgent steps taken by the president of Ukraine in the context of the situation with the decision of the Constitutional Court," Deputy Head of the President's Office Ihor Zhovkva commented on the letter.

Finally, the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission reaffirmed their strong support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Normandy format of negotiations, as well as Ukraine's diplomatic efforts to handle Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea.

COVID-19 vaccine for Ukraine

  • In February-March 2021, Ukraine expects the delivery of a vaccine against COVID-19.
  • The first batch of a vaccine via the COVAX Facility will include 8 million doses, which will be enough to vaccinate 4 million people (two shots per person required). First to get vaccinated will be healthcare workers, the elderly, and seriously ill patients.
  • On December 24, 2020, Health Minister Stepanov said that his ministry was working out a plan to increase the COVAX vaccine quota from 8 million to 16 million doses.
  • On December 30, Ukraine signed a contract with China's Sinovac for the supply of 1.9 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine.
  • On January 8, 2020, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Ghebreyesus said that rich countries have the majority of the supply of a COVID-19 vaccine from the manufacturers Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca.
  • On January 13, Health Minister Stepanov said that his ministry planned to sign contracts in the coming days with new companies that produce the coronavirus vaccine.
  • According to the WHO, 170 experimental vaccines are currently at the stage of preclinical trials, 65 are undergoing clinical trials, of which 15 are at the third, last stage.