Ukrainian Health Minister Maksym Stepanov says Ukraine may strike a deal to buy a U.S. vaccine against COVID-19.
Health Minister Maksym Stepanov announced this in an interview for RFE/RL's Ukrainian bureau, answering a question about whether he had negotiated the supply of COVID-19 vaccines with United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Yet, he did not elaborate, referring to the confidentiality of the agreement.
"The only thing I can say is that in the next few days, I think, you will hear about the conclusion of certain agreements and the timing of delivery of certain vaccines. As for U.S. vaccines, we have persistently been working on this, including through diplomatic channels. Since last summer," Stepanov said.
According to him, during negotiations last year, vaccine suppliers offered to provide the drugs in the fourth quarter of 2021, but the Ukrainian side had managed to agree with AsrtaZeneca and Sinovac on earlier supplies.
However, Stepanov did not specify what U.S. vaccine he was talking about – the one produced by Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson.
"We can expect all effective vaccines that are registered both in Ukraine and abroad," he added.
Vaccination in Ukraine
- Ukraine's Health Ministry has registered a vaccine developed by U.S. Pfizer, the Covishield vaccine by Oxford/AstraZeneca, and CoronaVac by China's Sinovac Biotech.
- On February 24, a nationwide vaccination campaign was launched in Ukraine. CoviShield, a recombinant vector vaccine produced under license at Serum Institute of India, is being used.
- On March 25, the first batch of 215,000 doses of Chinese-made CoronaVac arrived in Ukraine. The vaccine must undergo laboratory control, which will last 10 days, after which it will be sent to the state-run company Medical Procurements, which will deliver it to the regions.
- The Health Ministry also announced that by the end of March or the beginning of April, Ukraine will receive a batch of 570,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine under the COVAX Facility. Another batch with from 1.1 million to 1.2 million doses of the vaccine produced by that company is expected by the end of May. In addition, Ukraine will also get vaccines produced by Pfizer.
- In addition, the country may obtain the contracted vaccine of U.S. Novavax in the amount of 10 million doses and an Indian vaccine by Bharat Biotech.
- Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that Ukraine had signed preliminary agreements on the supply of COVID-19 vaccines with six global manufacturers.