Ukraine has equipment for storing COVID-19 vaccines, produced by Pfizer and BioNTech, at a temperature of -70 degrees Celsius.
Yet, its capacity is limited to 100,000 doses, infectious disease doctor Volodymyr Kurpita told the media outlet Obozrevatel.
"At the national level, such equipment exists, it can store up to 100,000 doses," he said.
According to him, a temperature of -70 degrees is provided for storing vaccines, but they can be transported to the place of vaccination in a refrigerator.
"En route to the regions, the vaccine can be stored in an ordinary refrigerator. The most important thing is that it should not continue more than five days," the doctor said.
Yet, Kurpita warned that due to the limited capacity of equipment for storing vaccines, Ukraine will not be able to immediately purchase the entire batch.
"With the right logistics, Ukraine can ensure reliable storage and delivery of vaccines. But it certainly will not immediately be all the 8 million [doses] that the Health Ministry has announced," he said.
"I think the vaccine will not arrive in Ukraine earlier than next April," he added.
Coronavirus vaccine: Recent developments
- U.S.-based pharma giant Pfizer, which jointly with Germany's BionTech is developing a vaccine against the coronavirus, updated the public on a higher rate of vaccine effectiveness.
- A primary efficacy analysis demonstrates BNT162b2 to be 95% effective against COVID-19 beginning 28 days after the first dose; 170 confirmed cases of COVID-19 were evaluated, with 162 observed in the placebo group versus 8 in the vaccine group, the companies said in a press release.
- The efficacy of the vaccine was consistent across age, gender, race and ethnicity demographics; the observed efficacy in adults over 65 years of age was over 94%.
- The safety data milestone required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) has been achieved.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on November 10 had a phone call with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, asking the German leader to assist in supplying a U.S.-German-developed COVID-19 vaccine to Ukraine.
- On November 16, Moderna, Inc. said its experimental vaccine was 94.5% effective in preventing COVID-19 based on interim data from a late-stage trial.
- 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.
- It was reported on December 2 the UK became the first country to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for widespread use.