Today, April 16, the first batch of vaccines was delivered to Ukraine under the COVAX mechanism - an unprecedented initiative of global solidarity to ensure global access to vaccines from COVID-19. This is the first delivery within the COVAX initiative to Ukraine. Ukraine receives 117,000 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine free of charge.
"The state of Ukraine has set a clear objective to cover the majority of the adult population of Ukraine with the COVID-19 vaccination this calendar year. This is a difficult task, but it can definitely be done. This process will be a real logistical and management challenge, as different manufacturers and types of vaccines will be involved in the vaccination process, each of which has its own conditions for use, transportation and storage. We welcome the first vaccine supply as part of a global initiative and the support of international partners. It is important for Ukraine that in the conditions of fierce competition and struggle for access to vaccines in the world, COVAX confirms in practice the fulfillment of the tasks for which this global partnership was created - to provide fair opportunities for all," said Minister of Health Maxym Stepanov.
The supply of vaccines from various manufacturers under COVAX initiative will continue, and it is expected that by the end of 2021 it will enable the country to cover up to 20% of the population of Ukraine with vaccinations. Under the COVAX mechanism, UNICEF purchases and supplies only those COVID-19 vaccines that meet WHO safety and efficacy criteria.
117,000 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine are primarily used to vaccinate staff and residents of nursing homes. Then - employees of the State Emergency Service and border guards.
"Ukraine's inclusion in the COVAX mechanism has been made possible due the joint efforts of all those who support COVAX, namely contributions from governments, international organizations and private companies. COVID-19 vaccination is an additional tool we have to contain the pandemic. It is currently a priority in Ukraine and around the world. WHO is working to ensure the availability and accessibility of vaccines, as well as to conduct a safe and effective vaccination process in Ukraine. Nowadays, partners such as WHO, UNICEF, the European Union, USAID, the United Kingdom and the World Bank have given priority to COVID-19 vaccination and allocated resources to support these efforts in Ukraine. Ensuring equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine, especially to protect the most vulnerable populations, will allow us to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on public health and the economy," said Dr. Jarno Habicht, WHO Representative and Head of the WHO Office in Ukraine.
"Today, we have taken an important step to protect those who are at risk of becoming seriously ill and dying from COVID-19. More vaccines will be delivered to Ukraine under the COVAX initiative, and UNICEF continues to support the Government of Ukraine to protect people from the harmful effects of COVID-19 on life and the economy. We hope that vaccination will be quick and effective, otherwise, people will further lose loved ones and the medical system will remain overloaded. It is critical to ensure that the vaccination process is organized safely: preserving a distance, avoiding close quarters, so that people do not contract infection with COVID while waiting for vaccination," said Lotta Sylwander, Head of UNICEF Ukraine.