Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says a nationwide COVID-19 vaccination campaign should begin as soon as the regions receive the first batches of a vaccine.
He announced this at a meeting with Ukrainian Deputy Health Minister, Chief Medical Officer Viktor Liashko, according to the press service of the President's Office.
"Vaccination should begin as soon as possible, as soon as the regions receive the first batches. But it must be voluntary – no one needs to be forced, it is better to inform people in detail about the proper quality of the drug," he said.
The vaccine supply logistics to all regions of Ukraine has already been worked out, and there should be no delays, he said.
Deliveries to hospitals will be handled by mobile teams. First of all, doctors of hospitals with COVID-19 patients will be vaccinated, they will be followed by employees of medical wards, cardiovascular and gastrology care units, emergency medical care, family doctors, etc.
The second stage provides for the vaccination of the military.
Zelensky confirmed his readiness to get vaccinated together with the servicemen as the Supreme Commander-in-Chief.
Liashko, in turn, informed the president that on February 22 two COVID-19 vaccines – Pfizer/BioNTech and Covishield – were registered in Ukraine.
According to him, the first batch of 500,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine has already arrived in Ukraine. It will be delivered from Boryspil International Airport to the Ukrprompostach warehouse, and the delivery of the vaccine to the regions will begin on February 24.
Covishield was produced at an Indian plant under the AstraZeneca license. Vaccination with the drug is carried out in two stages.
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- On the morning of February 23, Ukraine received the first batch of coronavirus vaccines. Some 500,000 doses of an Indian-produced vaccine from AstraZeneca are being dispatched from Boryspil Airport.
- On February 22, the Ukrainian Health Ministry registered the Oxford / AstraZeneca (Covishield) COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.
- The vaccine was developed by the University of Oxford in partnership with the British-Swedish company AstraZeneca. The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use has been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and authorized by the UK, the European Union, and India.
- The vaccination campaign in Ukraine was originally expected to start with the use of a vaccine produced by Pfizer/ BioNTech, which Ukraine was supposed to receive during the first wave of distribution under the global COVAX Facility. The supply of 117,000 doses of that vaccine to Ukraine has been confirmed.
- During the first half of the year, Ukraine could receive from 2.2 million to 3.7 million doses of the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine within as part of COVAX. In addition, the vaccine will be purchased for public funds directly from producers. It is expected that at least 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will arrive in Ukraine in February.