Health Ministry expects first vaccines from COVAX in March 2021 / REUTERS

Ukrainian Health Minister Maksym Stepanov has said Ukraine expects to get the first doses of vaccines approved by COVAX, the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility, in March 2021.

"After the creation of COVAX [a global initiative created on the platform of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) to accelerate the development, production and ensure equal access to tests, treatment and vaccines against COVID-19], Ukraine immediately joined this initiative to get the proper number of vaccine [doses]," he said this during an online briefing on Thursday, an UNIAN correspondent reported.

"As a result of negotiations, we agreed we would receive 8 million doses as part of this initiative, and we have almost completed the signing of all documents. Relevant documents were filed, and we received approval of this application," the minister said.

Stepanov said, according to the COVAX initiative, "these 8 million doses will be shipped from the end of the first quarter of next year – we expect to get them by the end of the first half of 2021. They will be supplied in corresponding tranches. Thus, we may provide appropriate vaccination for at least 4 million citizens. Each person will get two out of 8 million shots."

Read alsoRazumkov announces creation of fund for COVID-19 vaccination, support of doctorsAccording to the health minister, to buy the rest of the doses, Ukraine has been negotiating since summer with companies that are in the final stages of developing a vaccine, and President Volodymyr Zelensky is in talks with the leaders of the countries where these producers are based, to carry out large-scale vaccination in 2021.

Vaccination against COVID-19 in Ukraine

  • On November 18, the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX) confirmed the reports on plans to provide Ukraine with a free vaccine against the coronavirus disease. In particular, about 4 million Ukrainian nationals will be able to get vaccinated in the first half of 2021. Later it became known that proper vaccination includes two shots at a price of US$7 each.
  • On December 4, the Verkhovna Rada allowed a fast-track procedure for the approval of clinical trials and state registration for vaccines or other immunobiological medications to be used to prevent the coronavirus.
  • On December 6, Chairman of the Commission on Biosafety and Biological Protection under the Council of National Security and Defense, Academician Serhiy Komisarenko said mass vaccination could be launched in Ukraine no earlier than the middle of 2021.
  • On December 12, Ukrainian Deputy Health Minister, Chief Medical Officer Viktor Liashko said COVAX had officially approved over 8 million doses of free COVID-19 vaccine for Ukraine.