Zelensky asks Merkel to assist in supplying COVID-19 vaccines to Ukraine / REUTERS

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a Friday phone talk with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel asked the German leader to assist in supplying the COVID-19 vaccines to Ukraine.

At the beginning of the phone talk, the leaders congratulated each other on New Year's holidays. After that, they discussed the situation in Ukraine and Germany related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the supply of vaccines, as reported by the Ukrainian president's press service.

Read alsoPM Shmyhal names condition for greenlighting Chinese vaccine in UkraineZelensky asked Merkel to assist in supplying the COVID-19 vaccines to Ukraine.

"The main task now is to protect the most vulnerable categories of citizens: elderly people, doctors, military personnel. The emergence of certified vaccines gives us all hope," Zelensky said.

Vaccines for Ukraine: Background

  • In March, the first batch with 8 million doses of the vaccine is expected to be shipped to Ukraine under the COVAX Facility. These doses are enough to vaccinate 4 million people as two jabs per person are required. Medics, senior citizens, and seriously ill patients will get vaccinated first.
  • On December 24, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said that his ministry was working out a plan to increase the vaccine quota as part of the COVAX global initiative from 8 million to 16 million doses.
  • On December 22, Ukraine's Health Ministry approved a plan for vaccination of the population against COVID-19. The goal of this plan is to vaccinate at least 50% of the population of Ukraine (20 million people) in 2021-2022.
  • On December 30, the Ukrainian Health Ministry signed a contract for the supply of China's Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine to Ukraine. The purchase provides for 1,913,316 doses at UAH 504 (US$18) per dose. China plans to obtain permission to use the vaccine inside the country and abroad in January next year, and the vaccine will also be submitted for retraining to the World Health Organization (WHO) in February 2021.
  • The contract for supplies to the territory of Ukraine has been signed with Lekhim JSC, which, according to official confirmations from Sinovac Biotech, is the only authorized representative of the vaccine manufacturer in Ukraine.
  • Under the terms of the contract, the first batch of 700,000 doses will be delivered to Ukraine within 30 days after official registration in China, or by one of the competent authorities of the United States, Great Britain, the Swiss Confederation, Japan, Australia, Canada, Israel, India, Mexico, Brazil, or under a centralized procedure by the competent authority of the European Union.
  • On January 6, some 13 countries of the European Union called on the European Commission to provide access to COVID-19 vaccines for the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries, including Ukraine.