Brussels-based RFE/RL journalist Rikard Jozwiak says 13 countries of the European Union have called on the European Commission to provide access to COVID-19 vaccines for the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries, including Ukraine.

The journalist published the relevant letter on Twitter on January 6.

Read alsoUkraine to strike new deals soon for supply of COVID-19 vaccine – minister Stepanov

In particular, the signatories support the European Commission's efforts to provide vaccines to the Western Balkan countries. They are convinced that the facilitated vaccine-sharing mechanism for other EU neighbors will be "a strong and coordinated message on the strategic value of the EaP."

The document was signed by the foreign ministers from Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Sweden.

"We believe that our borders will not be safe if we do not extend our support to our immediate neighbors," the officials said in the letter.

Vaccines for Ukraine: Background

  • In March, the first batch with 8 million doses of a vaccine is expected to be shipped to Ukraine under the COVAX Facility. These doses are enough to vaccinate 4 million people, because one person needs two shots of the vaccine. Doctors, senior citizens, and seriously ill patients will get vaccinated first.
  • On December 24, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said that his ministry was working out a plan to increase the vaccine quota as part of the COVAX global initiative from 8 million to 16 million doses.
  • On December 22, Ukraine's Health Ministry approved a plan for vaccination of the population against COVID-19. The goal of this plan is to vaccinate at least 50% of the population of Ukraine (20 million people) in 2021-2022.
  • On December 30, the Ukrainian Health Ministry signed a contract for the supply of China's Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine to Ukraine. The purchase provides for 1,913,316 doses at UAH 504 (US$18) per dose. China plans to obtain permission to use the vaccine inside the country and abroad in January next year, and the vaccine will also be submitted for retraining to the World Health Organization (WHO) in February 2021.
  • The contract for supplies to the territory of Ukraine has been signed with Lekhim JSC, which, according to official confirmations from Sinovac Biotech, is the only authorized representative of the vaccine manufacturer in Ukraine.
  • Under the terms of the contract, the first batch of 700,000 doses will be delivered to Ukraine within 30 days after official registration in China, or by one of the competent authorities of the United States, Great Britain, the Swiss Confederation, Japan, Australia, Canada, Israel, India, Mexico, Brazil, or under a centralized procedure by the competent authority of the European Union.