Ukraine to buy 1.9 mln doses of Chinese vaccine against COVID-19 / REUTERS

The Ukrainian Health Ministry has signed a contract for the supply of China's Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine to Ukraine.

The ministry has been negotiating with Sinovac since September, according to the president's press service.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the contract had been signed with an experienced vaccine manufacturer.

"The main thing is that we have carried out a very active multi-month negotiation work and have received concrete results. We will start a large-scale state-run vaccination program soon. We desperately need to protect high-risk social groups, and the state will definitely fulfill this task," the president said.

It is noted the difficulty in negotiating was due to intense global competition for really high-quality and safe vaccines.

"Without exception, all the civilized states are trying to agree on the purchase of such a vaccine while reliable manufacturers cannot yet fully satisfy the global demand," the President's Office said.

Read alsoAlmost 8,000 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Ukraine as of Dec 30Ukraine will use the Sinovac Biotech vaccine to protect primarily those citizens who have a critical risk of infection and those who perform critical functions in the fight against the epidemic. The vaccination will be free.

The Sinovac Biotech (CoronaVac) vaccine is an inactivated vaccine that is produced in a syringe and stored at a temperature from +2°C to +8°C. According to the results of intermediate data, clinical trials in different countries showed the effectiveness of the vaccine up to 97%. For example, the third stage of clinical trials were conducted in Indonesia (1,600 patients, efficiency 97%) and Turkey (1,325 patients, efficiency 91%). The third stage of clinical trials in Brazil are coming to an end, with interim results expected on January 7.

Accordingly, 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. The purchase provides for 1,913,316 doses at UAH 504 (US$18) per dose.

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.

Such delivery will be carried out separately from COVAX (COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility).

Ukraine continues an active negotiation process with all reliable manufacturers to increase the access of Ukrainians to an effective and safe vaccine.

*** Sinovac Biotech is China's largest vaccine company. It produces from 300 to 500 million doses of vaccines annually, which are approved in 34 countries worldwide. The company has developed and marketed vaccines against hepatitis A and B, flu viruses, including bird one, and mumps. The decision to purchase 50 million doses of the Sinovac Biotech vaccines against COVID-19 has already been made by Turkey.

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 certification of vaccines or other immunobiological medications to be used to tackle 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 8 million doses of a free COVID-19 vaccine for Ukraine.
  • On December 17, Ukrainian Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said Ukraine expects to get the first doses of vaccines approved by COVAX in March 2021.
  • On December 23, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky enacted the bill passed by Parliament December 4.
  • On December 24, 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 the same day, Stepanov signed a roadmap for mass vaccination against COVID-19 in Ukraine in 2021-2022.
  • On December 29, Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers Oleh Nemchynov said Ukraine would get 16 million doses of a vaccine as part of COVAX.