UNICEF will deliver 473,850 doses of Pfizer BioNTech vaccine to Ukraine by the end of next week as part of the COVAX initiative.
According to a UNICEF press release, the first 117,000 doses of this shipment arrived in Ukraine on Tuesday.
Earlier, within the framework of COVAX, 590,850 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 1.0728 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine were delivered to Ukraine.
The COVAX Initiative aims to ensure fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for every country in the world. Ukraine receives all vaccines within the framework of COVAX free of charge.
On behalf of COVAX, UNICEF purchases and supplies only those COVID-19 vaccines that meet WHO’s safety and efficacy criteria.
COVAX is coordinated by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI). UNICEF works with manufacturers and procurement and logistics partners for COVID-19 vaccines.
Within the framework of COVAX, by the end of 2021, Ukraine should receive enough vaccines from various manufacturers to protect up to 20% of the population from COVID.
On May 31, the Ministry of Health of Ukraine registered a European-made AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 for emergency medical use, according to the agency’s website.
The vaccine, developed by Oxford University and the British-Swedish company AstraZeneca, is reportedly manufactured in Italy and has the trade name AstraZeneca. The AstraZeneca emergency vaccine has already been approved by the World Health Organization and has also been approved by the UK, EU, India and Canada.
By the end of the week, within the framework of the global COVAX initiative, 705,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will arrive in Ukraine. It will be intended for vaccination with a second dose of those who have already passed the 12-week interval after the first vaccination, in particular, doctors and healthcare workers, JFO participants, social workers, clergymen, employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Security Service of Ukraine, persons aged 65+. Also, the second dose of the vaccine is guaranteed to people who were vaccinated with residual doses or public figures.
As of Saturday morning, 123,964 Ukrainians received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the Ministry of Health of Ukraine said.
“As of today, 1.1 million Ukrainians received the first dose of the vaccine, 123,964 were vaccinated with two doses. A total of 1.1 million vaccinations were carried out,” the Ministry said on its Facebook page.
The British purchasing agency Crown Agents delivered the first 117,000 doses out of 167,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 to Ukraine from Belgium on Wednesday.
Crown Agents told Interfax-Ukraine that the second batch of vaccine (50,000 doses) is expected on Thursday.
According to head of Crown Agents in Ukraine Tetiana Korotchenko, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was transported in compliance with all storage rules under the required temperature conditions.
In February, Crown Agents delivered 500,000 doses of Covishield vaccine to Ukraine, developed by AstraZeneca in cooperation with the University of Oxford.
The next delivery of the Pfizer vaccine may take place after May 17, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov has said.
“We expect to receive Pfizer vaccines under the COVAX initiative and direct contract in the near future, tentatively from May 17,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
According to the minister, the Ministry of Health is technically ready to maximize the daily vaccination against coronavirus (COVID-19) disease, but this requires “more vaccines.”
“You know that now vaccines have been shipped that are in debt to us under the already signed contracts. In the last ten days alone, 1 million doses have arrived. Now the supply volumes of vaccines should increase,” he said.
Stepanov also said that in the near future Ukraine expects to receive vaccines from Sinovac and AstraZeneca.
“As soon as the supply of vaccines increases, we will immediately increase the number of people who will be vaccinated. We can vaccinate 5-6 million people a month in a quiet mode. The main thing is that there are vaccines and those who want to be vaccinated,” Stepanov said.
He also noted that the Ministry of Health has “healthy optimism” regarding the prevention of a new outbreak of COVID-19 as a result of the Easter holidays.
“I am grateful to the Ukrainians for listening to the recommendations and that there were no mass visits to churches during the Easter holidays. The number of people who attended churches, according to the National Police, was 8 times less than it was before the epidemic – 793,000 people versus 7 million,” he said.
Ukraine has signed contracts for the supply of 42 million doses of coronavirus vaccines by the end of this year, about 5 million more doses are needed, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said.
“If you look at the number of doses that we have contracted, I emphasize, it was the contracted amount for which we paid the funds, together with COVAX, then we now have 42 million doses of vaccines for which we have already signed [contracts], these are all supplies for this year,” the minister said during the Segodnya Vecherom (Tonight) program on the Ukraine 24 television on Friday evening.
“About 5 million more doses are needed,” Stepanov noted.
“We have relevant proposals, in particular from the Serum Institute, to increase the amount of doses of the Novavax vaccine, and we also have a proposal regarding Sinovac. Now we are deciding on the timeframe of delivery,” he added.