Ukraine may receive the first batch of the vaccine against the novel coronavirus as early as February 2021, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov expects.
"We very much hope we will receive the first vaccines in the first quarter of next year. Now we are trying to do everything so that the first doses came in Ukraine in February," the minister explained, according to Radio NV.
Stepanov says the Ministry of Health has already negotiated a vaccine storage strategy. Some of them must be stored at ultra-low temperatures of -80°C, that's at the country's industrial plants with the relevant refrigeration capacity, the minister added.
"We will be able to store about 1 million doses," the minister has explained.
He specified that the population categories that the Ministry of Health can "very clearly control" will be prioritized for vaccination with the Pfizer vaccine. They include medical workers, military, and teachers.
In total, the Ministry of Health plans to vaccinate about 21 million Ukrainians.
Vaccination against COVID-19 has started: Latest
- On December 1, British authorities championed the approval for mass use of a vaccine jointly produced by the American Pfizer and the German BioNTech. Two other vaccines – the U.S.-made Moderna and the British AstraZeneca – are still pending regulatory review.
- On December 8, Britain was the first country among Western powers to start mass vaccination against coronavirus. Highest risk groups, including medics and social workers, will be vaccinated in the first place.
- In Israel, the second phase of clinical trial on volunteers will start in the coming days of the Brilife vaccine, developed by the Weizmann Institute for Biological Research.
- Meanwhile, in Ukraine, the Ministry of Health has drawn up the schedule for upcoming vaccination against COVID-19. The country is expected to receive the vaccine in the first half of 2021. In total, Kyiv expects to receive 8 million doses at the first stage.
- 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 launch in Ukraine no earlier than mid-2021.