The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has presented a proposed plan for the distribution of the first 25 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, which Ukraine will receive among others.
“Approximately 6 million will be targeted toward regional priorities and partner recipients, including Mexico, Canada, and the Republic of Korea, West Bank and Gaza, Ukraine, Kosovo, Haiti, Georgia, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and Yemen, as well as for United Nations frontline workers,” a message posted on the website of the White House on Thursday reads.
The White House says that the Administration announced its framework for sharing at least 80 million U.S. vaccine doses globally by the end of June and the plan for the first 25 million doses.
Manufacturers of vaccines against coronavirus (COVID-19) disease have begun to “cancel debts” on contacts for supplies, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov has said.
“Now the situation has begun to level out and manufacturing companies have begun to cancel the debts they owe us,” he said at a briefing on Tuesday.
Stepanov said that “in the last ten days alone, we have received 1 million doses of vaccines from the Chinese company Sinovac, deliveries have begun under the COVAX initiative – 367,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine and 117,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine, and in total we expect 1.4 million doses under COVAX by the end of May.”
Stepanov also expressed hope for the resumption of vaccine supplies from India.
“We expect that the embargo on the export of vaccines in India will be lifted, and that debt of 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines that we have contracted will be closed to us,” he said.
Stepanov said that by the end of the second quarter, Ukraine expects first 500,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine, the main deliveries through this contact will begin in July, in particular, 4.5 million doses are expected in the third quarter.
Ukraine has agreed with the Indian manufacturer Serum Institute to increase the supply of vaccines against coronavirus (COVID-19) disease to 15 million doses, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov has said.
“During negotiations with the owner of the Serum Institute, Mr. Cyrus Poonawalla, an agreement was reached to increase the supply from 10 million to 15 million doses of vaccine,” he said at a briefing on Tuesday.
Stepanov also said that “there is a proposal from the Chinese company Sinovac.”
“We have reached an agreement with them to increase supplies and additional contracting,” he said.
Stepanov said that Ukraine currently has contacts for the supply of 42 million doses, but intends to increase the agreement to 48 million doses in 2021, which will allow 70% of the adult population to be vaccinated.
Minister of Health Maksym Stepanov welcomes the import of vaccines to the private market, but spoke about the nuances.
“In order to import a vaccine, it must first be registered. We have now adopted a fast registration regime for emergency use. We welcome the import of vaccines by any business to the private market,” Stepanov said on the air on the Ukraine24 TV channel.
According to him, in the near future due to the frenzied demand for vaccines in the private market, some countries prohibit the export of their vaccines from the territory where their production is located, despite the concluded contracts and paid funds.
“Therefore, they are sold exclusively to states. We are in constant communication with all manufacturers of vaccines, asking about the possibility of their appearance on the private market,” Stepanov said.
The minister also explained the possibility of bringing Cuban vaccine against COVID-19 to Ukraine.
“We must first look at the documents in order to draw conclusions,” Stepanov said.
President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen recalled the difficulties with the launch of the production of vaccines against COVID-19.
“We all underestimated the difficulty for the industry of ramping up a complex mass vaccine production programme from nothing. I wish I had known that last autumn. I would still have been very pleased about the researchers coming up with the vaccine so much faster than predicted, but I would have warned that it could take several more months before it was available in large quantities,” she said in an interview with Die Zeit on Thursday.
Von der Leyen noted that delays in the terms of vaccinations are due to the EU’s careful approach to the vaccine registration process.
She stressed that at first, manufacturers could not fulfill large orders that were formed by different countries.
“Larger initial orders would have been impossible to honour – even if we had paid out billions extra for this. The current bottlenecks are due to the fact that producing a vaccine is extremely complicated and the start is often shaky. There is a limited supply of raw materials, supply chains for the completely new mRNA technology need to be established and, in addition, demand for these substances from all corners of the globe is extremely high,” Von der Leyen said.
She recalled that in early January, European countries faced a shortage of vaccines, so they increased their orders.
As reported, Minister of Health of Ukraine Maksym Stepanov left for to India to conduct direct negotiations with manufacturers on additional volumes of Oxford/AstraZeneca and NovaVax vaccines in 2021-2022 to the already contracted 12 million doses.
Vaccines against COVID-19 from four companies will arrive in Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky has said.
“We have agreed to supply vaccines to Ukraine from Pfizer, Sinovac, AstraZeneca and Novavax companies. The first stage of vaccination will begin this month. Our doctors, the military and the National Guard will be the first to receive the vaccine,” Zelensky said at the opening of the “Ukraine 30. Coronavirus: Challenges and Responses” Forum on Monday.
At the same time, the president said that having already resolved the issue of vaccine supplies to the country, Ukraine faced a new problem, namely “lack of faith in vaccination, refusal to vaccinate by a significant part of the population.”
“This is a new but very serious issue that we all need to address. Personally I am ready, like most world leaders, to show that vaccination is important, safe and necessary,” the president said.
The president said that Ukraine will buy only safe vaccines from world manufacturers.
“There is no official information that the Russian vaccine has a 91% effect, neither from WHO nor from world experts. The head of WHO said today that there are several key points to pay attention to, one of them – fakes. Citizens of Ukraine are people and definitely not rabbits. We have no right to experiment on them,” Zelensky said.
“Today I will talk to Pfizer. We should get one million vaccines in February. In addition, there are agreements with the Chinese manufacturer. There are agreements with the U.K. and the United States,” he added.
The president said that Ukraine must purchase vaccines and provide an opportunity for all Ukrainians to be vaccinated. “As a state, we will lift the bans on people who are vaccinated or have contracted COVID-19,” Zelensky said.
The head of state also said that Ukraine has developed a vaccination roadmap, which provides for proper and equal access for all citizens of Ukraine.
“Its main task is to cover at least half of the population of Ukraine during 2021 and early 2022,” the president said.