Immunization of the population with a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is a key component of the Government's strategy to combat the pandemic. Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal stressed in his statement at the Verkhovna Rada on January 26.
The Head of Government stressed that the Government has a clear action plan for vaccination, contracted the required number of doses of vaccine and prepared the logistics infrastructure for that in order to trigger a vaccination campaign in February.
The Prime Minister reminded that the National Vaccination Plan envisages 5 stages, in particular, vaccination of medical workers, the military, people in nursing homes, social workers, teachers, etc. The overall goal of the plan, according to Denys Shmyhal, is to cover at least 50% of the population by the end of 2022.
"Ukraine will be provided with the necessary number of safe vaccines and vaccination will take place within the planned timeframe," the Prime Minister stressed.
According to the Head of Government, by February 1, Ukraine expects a decision from COVAX to be included in the distribution within the "first wave": "If a positive decision is made, we will receive from 100 to 200 thousand Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines in February-March."
Denys Shmyhal added that within the COVAX initiative, Ukraine is most likely to receive those vaccines with which COVAX has pre-signed supply and production agreements, including Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Novavax and Sanofi/GSK.
The Prime Minister also reminded that in December Ukraine inked an agreement to purchase a vaccine manufactured by Sinovac Biotech. The number of vaccines will be 1 million 913 thousand doses.
"Delivery schedule is 30 days after registration of the vaccine in the country of origin or in other countries with strict regulatory policies. Last week, the Sinovac vaccine was approved for use in Brazil, where it has been clinically tested. Accordingly, approximately in 3-4 weeks we expect the first batch in the amount of 700 thousand doses of vaccines", said Denys Shmyhal.
Meanwhile, the PM highlighted that Ukraine will use only vaccines with an efficiency of more than 70%.
"At the same time, the Government has prepared and continues the activities on gearing up a medical system for the rapid launch of a vaccination campaign. First of all, it concerns the logistical component: the formation of routes for the prompt and safe delivery of vaccines, the formation of teams that will carry out vaccinations and for other situations," said the Prime Minister.
The Head of Government added that those responsible had been determined among officials on regional level: "The process in the regions will be coordinated by the heads of health departments."
In addition, Denys Shmyhal noted that logistics had been prepared for the safe storage and transportation of vaccines, full calculations had been made for updating the cold chain, the need for refrigerators, thermal refrigerators and temperature control tools had been formed.
"Ukraine is capable of ensuring storage, logistics, transport the vaccine to vaccination centers, which must be stored at a temperature of under 80 degrees C. For this purpose, first of all, private pharmaceutical logistics companies will be involved. For the state, these are temporary needs, a one-time partnership between the state and business is more beneficial and appropriate here," the Head of Government stressed.
According to the Prime Minister, the first stage of the vaccination process will take place with the help of special teams. The composition of the brigades has already been formed by name.
"More than 500 mobile teams will be involved. The second and subsequent stages of vaccination are planned to be carried out in more than 4,000 vaccination centers. For proper motivation, a separate package of medical services is being developed together with the National Health Service of Ukraine (NHSU) to cover the costs of institutions for the organization and conduct of vaccination," summed up Denys Shmyhal.