Immunization of Ukrainians with the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Chinese company Sinovac (CoronaVac) will start on Tuesday, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said during a press briefing in Kyiv on Tuesday. “The Ministry of Health has completed all the processes of testing and laboratory control of the vaccine and today we are starting the process of vaccination with this vaccine,” he said.
Stepanov said that 215,000 doses of the vaccine have already been delivered to Ukraine, the remaining 1.7 million doses will be delivered in April-May.
According to him, the vaccine will be used for vaccinations of low-mobility groups of the population, social workers, teachers who will take part in the External Independent Evaluation (ZNO), Olympians, Paralympians who are preparing for the Tokyo Olympics, employees of the National Police, the Armed Forces of Ukraine, workers of critical infrastructure.
Stepanov said that 117,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine are expected to be delivered during the week as part of the COVAX initiative. This vaccine is planned to vaccinate citizens staying at boarding schools, homes for the elderly, as well as employees of these institutions.
Ukraine is set to provide the opportunity to be vaccinated against coronavirus (COVID-19) to 70% of its adult population by the end of 2021, Ukrainian Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said.
“In order to achieve herd immunity, 60% of the adult population must be vaccinated. We would like to increase that level to 70%. At least, to give them the opportunity to be vaccinated,” Stepanov said at a press briefing in Kyiv on Tuesday.
The healthcare system is capable of administering that many shots, he said.
“Ukraine has 11,500 vaccination stations, and each station is capable of administering about 40-50 shots per day. That means the country can administer up to 450,000-500,000 shots per day. Surely, we are not using every available vaccination station just yet. The number of shots we are hoping to administer ranges from five million to seven million per month. That would be enough,” Stepanov said.
Ukraine has signed contracts for the delivery of 22 million doses of vaccines, and contracts for another 15 million doses will be concluded shortly, he said.
Ukraine expects to start receiving Indian vaccines against COVID-19 in early April, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said.
“We see that there is a corresponding problem, and we are monitoring the political processes that are taking place in India, that they have withheld vaccines for everyone, without exception. But I think that this delay will not last too long. I think that nevertheless, somewhere in early April, we must obtain permission and start receiving vaccines from India. I am optimistic about this,” Stepanov said on the air of Right to Power (Pravo na Vladu) program on the 1 + 1 TV channel on Thursday evening, March 25.
More than 50% of Ukrainians do not intend to be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to results of a study conducted by the sociological service of the Razumkov Center from March 5 to 9.
According to the results of the poll, 51.5% of respondents answered that they do not intend to get vaccinated against coronavirus, 12% intend to get vaccine in the near future (or have already received such a vaccine), 16% intend to do it, but later, 10% intend to do it only when it will be necessary for formal requirements (for example, for a trip abroad), 10% have not decided yet.
At the same time, according to the research, the older the respondents, the more often they express a lack of desire to be vaccinated (their share increases from 43.5% among those who are from 18 to 29 years old, to 57% among those who are 60 and over).
Among those who do not give up their intention to get vaccinated against COVID-19, 52% are ready to be vaccinated only in case that vaccination is free, 22.5% of them are willing to pay for it, and another 5% are willing to pay to get vaccinated out of turn (21% were undecided).
The older the respondents, the more often they answer that they are ready to be vaccinated only free of charge (the proportion of such increases from 42% among those who are 18 to 29 years old, to 64% among those who are 60 and over).
Those respondents who do not intend to be vaccinated are most often motivated by the fact that, in their opinion, the vaccines used in Ukraine are not sufficiently effective or safe, but they are ready to be vaccinated with “some other” vaccine (this answer is given by 45% of those who do not intend to vaccinate).
So, 27% of them motivate their refusal by the fact that, in their opinion, the risks from vaccination exceed the risks from the disease itself, 10% by the fact that they have already had coronavirus, 7% have medical contraindications, 3% believe that the probability that that they will get COVID-19, is very low.
Justification of refusal to vaccinate with insufficient effectiveness or insufficient safety of vaccines used in Ukraine is most common among representatives of the younger age group (18-29 years old) (54% of those, who do not intend to vaccinate against COVID-19, motivate their refusal by this).
The survey was conducted by the method of face-to-face interviews at the place of residence of the respondents. 2,018 respondents aged 18 and over were interviewed in all regions of Ukraine, with the exception of Crimea and the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, according to a sample representing the adult population in terms of basic socio-demographic indicators.
The theoretical sampling error (excluding the design effect) does not exceed 2.3% with a probability of 0.95.
All family doctors will be vaccinated against COVID-19 through vaccination rooms, which will open from next week, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said.
“Next week we will open vaccination rooms. All family doctors will be vaccinated against COVID-19 through these rooms,” he said on the Freedom of Speech (Svoboda Slova) program on ICTV on Tuesday night.
According to the national vaccination plan, at least nine mobile vaccination teams per region should work now, but these plans are not being implemented in the field, Stepanov said.
“Local authorities were supposed to reach not 10,000, but more than 12,000-14,000 vaccinations per day. The mobile team did not come here, they did not vaccinate there – this is how they deploy in the field,” he said.
Nevertheless, Stepanov said that in the coming days the rate of vaccination will accelerate and will reach more than 10,000 vaccinations per day.
“Today there was a rather tough conversation, including with some heads of regions,” he said.
Stepanov also said that 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca (Covishield) vaccine should be delivered to Ukraine by March 31. The Ministry of Health expects permission for their export from the Government of India.
As reported, the first batch of 500,000 doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca (Covishield) vaccine was delivered to Ukraine on the morning of February 23.
Oxford/AstraZeneca is produced at the facilities of the Serum Institute (India) and has the local (trade) name Covishield. It was registered for emergency use in Ukraine on Monday, February 22.
In addition, Ukraine received confirmation of deliveries of 2.2-3.7 million doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines under COVAX mechanism in the first-second quarter of 2021. In addition, this vaccine will be purchased directly from the manufacturers for public funds.
Ukraine has also signed additional direct contracts for the supply of vaccines against COVID-19, developed with the participation of AstraZeneca (UK-Sweden) and NovaVax (USA) and manufactured at the facilities of the Serum Institute (India).